International Day of Women & Girls in Science
Published : 02/13/2023 - Categories : News
The 11th February 2023, we celebrate Women and Girls in Science. It’s important to acknowledge the role of women in science, the positive change they bring and their crucial contribution to science innovation, especially in chemistry and research.
At Alsachim, nearly 40% of our staff are women of science. For this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we asked to some of our colleagues to share with us their personal journeys as a scientist, what it means for them to work in science as a woman, and if they had a message or some advice for young girls wanting to become a scientist.
- Emmanuelle Sagot, organic chemistry project leader
From my first Chemistry class in secondary school, I was captivated by this subject: the teacher in a lab coat doing a live experiment, it fascinated me! I quickly felt at ease with the subject, so I continued my studies in this field until I did a thesis in biochemistry. Laboratory work, doing experiments and analysing the results have always motivated and stimulated me and still do today in my position as project manager at Alsachim.
Being a woman of science means being proud to put my ideas at the service of science. I can freely exercise my profession as a scientist in a country that advocates gender equality. I think this is a good thing, because in other countries women must work harder to achieve a scientifically recognised career. Many scientific breakthroughs have been made by women, but only 2% of the Nobel Prizes in science have been awarded to women, the first being Marie Curie in 1903. I think that this rate will increase over the years because the international scientific society is heading in the right direction. I think of the French Emmanuelle Charpentier who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Jennifer Doudna in 2020 for "for the development of a method for genome editing".
If you are attracted to science, don't be hesitant: go for it and trust yourself! Don't pay attention to the stereotypes of a society that no longer exists. Science is everyone's business and women have just as much a place as men.
“Being a woman of science means being proud to put my ideas at the service of science.”
- Naouel ACHOUR, R&D chemistry engineer
When I was in high school, a classmate's father was an AIDS researcher: the research field fascinated me, and I wanted to follow the same path. Being at ease with scientific subjects, I did a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, followed by a master’s degree in molecular and macro-molecular chemistry at the University of Haute Alsace in Mulhouse, France. The chemistry field is a broad topic/has a wide array/range of topics and combines theorical and practical aspects, I appreciate this versatility greatly!
A woman scientist is an intelligent, independent, and bold woman who has succeeded in this area and above all has been recognised as such. Women are endowed with the same abilities as men, and therefore have every opportunity to become what they want to be and to excel.
The advice I would give to a young girl would be to firstly do what she likes, and to always believe in her own abilities. Nowadays, we have all the tools at our disposal to succeed, we just must be determined and persevere. At Alsachim we are fortunate to be very well represented as more than half of our staff are women. Studies show that women are just as successful as men in the sciences, if not more so: there is no gender difference in spirit and success!
“The advice I would give to a young girl would be to firstly do what she likes, and to always believe in her own abilities”
- Joice Guileine NKUIMI WANDJOU, analytical development engineer
I have a Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Sciences, a Pharmacy degree, a Master's degree in Analytical Chemistry and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Science. The choice of this field is the result of two main things: the knowledge of a particular aspect of my personality: the desire to discover new things, to innovate... and the understanding in my adolescence (through a very particular experience) of a call to work in the scientific field.
Being a female scientist is simply an "achievement" for me. Every human being has a contribution to bring to society to impact their generation and the ones to come. In general, I would encourage every young girl (whether she aspires to a scientific career or not) to know herself, to look for what she is passionate about because passion is very often an indicator of the field in which one will be most fulfilled. It is also important to make good choices, choices not influenced by the "mass effect".
For those who feel attracted to the scientific world, I encourage them to pursue their dream, set goals, persevere, aim high, strive for excellence, and finally hold firm (reaching your goals is not always a smooth ride).
Achievement is a reward and a great source of joy.
- Claire Trécant, organic chemistry project leader
After a Technological University Degree (French degree, Diplôme Universitaire de Technologie) in Chemistry, I entered an Engineering School of Chemistry. With the intention of working in organic chemistry research in France, I continued my studies with a PhD in collaboration with Sanofi.
I was then quickly hired by Alsachim as a project manager in organic chemistry. This job fitted in perfectly with my educational background and matched the job I wanted to do. In 13 years, I have never been bored because my job has constantly evolved and there are many challenges. It was also important for me to work in a field related to medical research. The molecules manufactured by Alsachim are used in hospitals daily, which is an undeniable source of motivation.
I don't see a distinction between male and female scientists. In chemistry, I have not been confronted with sexism. Chemistry is a field of science where there is a high level of parity, including in engineering schools. Women, just like men, have an essential role to play in the scientific and technological community. Everyone finds their place according to their skills, not their gender.
Discover other portraits and testimonies of women of science from Alsachim
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