Why engage in the WE project?

Frauke G. RalfFeb 24, 2018

What made me get involved with this project? It’s the fact that diversity and inclusion go much further than “just” gender as a cause. Having worked from the age of 19 with my first editorial job at Rowohlt Verlag in Hamburg, I came across many diversity-, inclusion- and gender-related issues, depending which hat I was wearing in the situation, sometimes all of them at the same time!

An example: Working for Les Éditions du Seuil in Paris, I was a) a young woman, b) a German and c) a Lutheran Protestant working among my French/Belgian/Canadian, mostly Jewish colleagues. During the five years I worked for this wonderful publishing house, I felt fully integrated and highly respected for all of the above!

I’m forever thankful for this experience in my early professional life. It drove me further into working internationally and to live by all three of these principles in my daily life: diversity, inclusion, gender — always coupled with the need for respect, generosity and tolerance. And a huge sense of humour, which is not very German…

We are not the “Quotenfrauen” but qualified for our careers and are happy to prove our success. Trying to solve inequity simply by imposing quotas doesn’t work because those who are hired are positioned as somehow unequal.  Let us fulfill our responsibilities, compensate us accordingly, and eventually, the glass ceiling can be lifted. Look at Iceland, it works!

Seeing my children dealing with their mates or colleagues, no matter their complexion, nationality, language, religion, handicap, seeing the young ladies aiming high in their career, makes me hopeful that we have come a long way globally already despite all set-backs.

There is no way back — it’s not at all dissimilar to how Open Science is here to stay.

In the end, education is the key to unlocking equity. And STM is right in the heart of it. Let’s use our professional potential and work towards it! Hence the need for scientific data first…