Earlier this week, I enjoyed being part of the Women Scientists and Engineers Council’s annual networking event. We recognized the Council’s new chair, Soledad Antelada Toledano (below, center), from the cyber security group in the IT Division. I enjoyed Physics Division Director Natalie Roe’s reflections on how far the Lab has come on gender equity and inclusion. At the same time, I agree with her judgment that we still have much to do on this and on diversity, equity and inclusion as a whole.
While Berkeley Lab has recently rolled out several new programs related to DEI (go here for more information), we are grateful that other organizations are also thinking about ways to increase the number of women in STEM. For their part, the United Nations General Assembly has declared February 11 as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The UN stated that, “Despite some progress in recent years…the advancement of women and girls in science across the world has not only stalled, but the international community is seeing a recidivist slide backwards.” In celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, countries from India to Poland to Iraq are planning events to raise awareness and encourage women and girls’ participation in STEM.
Within Berkeley Lab, indeed throughout the University of California and the Department of Energy, women play leading roles in the advancement of science and technology. All of us are working to determine priorities and develop strategies for advancing the careers of women scientists and engineers in our communities.
Additionally, next month is Women’s History Month, which this year honors women who fight all forms of discrimination against women.
Though we face many challenges to achieving gender equity in science, there is no better time to do this work. We are working to establish lasting changes here at Berkeley Lab, throughout the nation, and around the globe. Such progress is central to accomplishing our scientific mission.