Showcasing women in scientific research
A researcher in my class
Female researchers associated with the NCCR Evolving Language have invited themselves in a few classrooms in Geneva through the “A researcher in my class” project! With students between 15 and 20 years old, they talked about neurosciences, language evolution, human behaviour, as well as what it is to be a researcher, especially as a woman.
Why it is important to us
Gender stereotypes still exist in our society and affect the way we perceive the world and ourselves. For instance, do you know that, in Swiss universities, women represent 86,5 % of applied linguistics’ students while only 13,5% are in engineering and IT? (Source: Federal statistic office, 2022). Aware of this societal bias, the NCCR Evolving language is involved in the new initiative of the #NCCRWomen campaign “A researcher in my class”. For this matter, female researchers from our NCCR discuss their journey and their work in Swiss secondary schools to empower and encourage teenage girls into scientific careers.
Why it is important to our researchers
Women have their place in research
“I participated with great pleasure and enthusiasm in the “A researcher in my class” project. I think it is very important for young adults to be in contact with female researchers, so they realize that academics are not exclusively masculine and that women have their place in research, in all types of positions.”
Discussing the daily life of a female researcher
“To me, it’s important to discuss the daily life of a female researcher with students, including the different tasks and activities we are involved in and the different periods that exist during the thesis and during the following contracts.”
Equality in career pursuits
“Women are still too few in science, especially in my field, neurosciences. The “A researcher in my class” initiative will prove to young women that they can be confident and choose, if they want to, a scientific career and be successful. It is also crucial that young boys, for their part, become aware of the existence of these gender stereotypes, which also influence their decisions for the future.”
Discovering research in psychology
“For me, this project represented an opportunity to introduce research in psychology to students who will soon have to make study choices and who are probably not aware of the extent of what is done in this field. It also seemed important to me to promote the place of women in research and more globally in a scientific field.”
Showing it's not "Rocket Science"
“I’m passionate about science communication and popularization. We often think of scientists as wacky people who do incomprehensible things. It’s important for me to show that ‘it’s not rocket science’ and that anyone can understand science and be interested in it.”
Going beyond the stereotypes
“This project is close to my heart because of its ‘feminine’ aspect. The academic world is too often perceived as eminently male. It’s important to me to convey to young people that it’s possible, as a woman, to pursue a research career, beyond the prejudices that are sometimes instilled in us by society.”
Meet our researchers
I am interested in the evolution of primate social behaviours with a main focus on cultural transmission and cognition. I am the Director of the Inkawu Vervet Project in South Africa, an experimental field site with a study population of over 200 wild vervet monkeys. For more information on my research, please visit the webpage of my group.