Sanna Arpiainen, Sian Fogden, Annick Loiseau and Alba Centeno Pérez
For the fourth year running the Graphene Flagship's Women In Graphene initiative returned to Graphene Week with a fascinating look at the lives and careers of three women in graphene. To a packed room, Annick Loiseau from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France, spoke about her scientific career path as a response to a physics Professor's statement on gender issues in the seventies. Talking openly about her life she showed how different the world is now for women in graphene but also how far we still have to go to move toward gender equality. Sanna Arpiainen from VTT, Finland, talked about the Gender Effect in her career and introduced the idea of 'silent information' to the room – the discussions and decisions that happen in rooms where women cannot be present; a situation that needs to change. This prompted a lively debate where women shared their stories and were offered support. After this Alba Centeno Pérez from Graphenea, Spain, shared her journey from academia to industry, encouraging the audience not to limit their ambitions and to make decisions based on what makes them happy.
The Women In Graphene initiative within the Graphene Flagship has been set up to help support women and create a more gender diverse scientific community. It aims to connect women working in graphene through biannual meetings and peer to peer support. All women working in graphene are invited to get involved through the Women In Graphene Twitter (@MyGraphene), Instagram (@MyGraphene) and Facebook group (Women In Graphene). To highlight the work of Women In Graphene we also encourage Instagram takeovers where for a week women working in graphene and related material are invited to post on the @MyGraphene feed to show the work they do. Please get in touch if you would like to be our Instagrammer for the Week! Launching soon will also be the Women In Graphene mentoring scheme – watch this space.
Timed to coincide with the 2019 International Day of Women and Girls in STEM, the next Women In Graphene meeting will be held at the National Graphene Institute in Manchester, UK from the 11 to the 12 of February 2019. For the first time it will be a lunch to lunch meeting and will contain a series of talks and workshops aimed at supporting the career development of women working in graphene. There will be a number of travel grants for early stage career researchers. Sign up for Women In Graphene updates here to receive the registration link as soon as it opens and for more information about the travel grants and program.
Read more about Women In Graphene from its founder, Katarina Boustedt, on her hopes for the network moving forward as she moves on from the Flagship to her next exciting opportunity:
"Within the Graphene Flagship it was obvious from the start that there are quite a lot of women involved. However, the women were mostly in the earlier stage of their careers and I had a feeling that they were not in focus as much as they should be. I wanted to make sure that all the women working in the Flagship had the network and connections they needed to succeed. I realised pretty soon that we needed separate meetings, I wanted to give women who may have less of a voice in their current work a place to meet, make connections and hear from other women who are doing and have done fantastic things in their careers. We now have a session at Graphene Week every year, along with a career development stand-alone day which I hope will go some way to achieving this goal. As I hand this group over, I really hope that my vision of a Graphene Flagship mentoring scheme will be realised to make sure that all young researchers have the support that they need to succeed. Seeing a diverse range of young researchers emerging with the belief that they can succeed in the graphene field will be instrumental to the success of graphene in the longer term.
Graphene Flagship Dissemination