The Women in Technology grass roots community at CERN – an example of women networking in a scientific organisation
The creation of scientific knowledge has transitioned from largely solitary work to collective efforts embedded in large collaborations, placing a new emphasis on social networks as the mechanism linking interdependent scientists across departments and universities. Professional networks have proven to be a key contributor in the career success and their presence becomes even more important for under-represented communities. In this context, the Women in Technology community at CERN (WIT) was born in the early 2016. The main aim of the WIT community is to create a supportive network for exchanging experiences and career advice among women working at CERN. WIT activities span on different fronts: networking, mentoring, awareness and outreach. The WIT community today comprises more than 500 members, has organised three mentoring yearly programmes and is present in multiple outreach events, both in the local area and world wide through social media. Women networks, such as WIT, are beneficial to both the network participants and the organisation as a whole: not only do they provide a place to connect and share common experiences but also they can interface with CERN internal programs, such as CERN’s official Diversity & Inclusion, transferring the community’s ideas and advocating for minority’ issues. It has to be noted that even if WIT was born in the spirit of supporting women, it actually welcomes members from all genders and all CERN’s departments. This contribution describes how WIT is structured and the different activities organised by the community; it also highlights how networks like WIT contribute to making an impact on diversity and inclusion in a scientific research organisation like CERN.
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