By Christine Wong, Nanyang Assistant Professor, Representative of Women in Science @ LKCMedicine
Why are there fewer women scientists at the Principal Investigator / Professorial rank? Why are women less prevalent in academic leadership positions? These questions usually boil down to one action call – How can women be better supported to achieve in science?
Women in Science @ LKCMedicine (WIS @ LKCMedicine) was launched in 2020 with strong support from the School Management Board, and is integrated with a larger initiative by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) called Women @ NTU. The initiative aims at empowering female scientists, creating equal opportunities, and tackling barriers to support the new generation of women leaders in the field of science. Through promotion of equity, inclusion, diversity, and belonging to the School’s research community, our mission is to create opportunities and resources for everyone to achieve academic excellence.
WIS @ LKCMedicine plans activities that take place throughout the year, including education workshops, WIS Distinguished Speaker Series and provision of childcare and travel subsidies for female academics to attend conferences overseas. These events take an all-inclusive philosophy and all members in our research community are welcome to participate!
In addition to the support from the School, we as women in science must also be able to stand strong and persevere in times that are less favourable. I am blessed to have encountered a number of “Wonder Women” and outstanding mentors in my scientific journey. Although each of them succeeded via different pathways, they invariably share some common intrinsic attributes that can bring them through the rollercoaster-like lifelong career in science. What are the aspiring qualities that junior scientists like ourselves can learn from?
- Be visionary – Set your grand goals (at work and in life). Know the paths to it, or even create your own trail. Shoot for the moon; even if you miss, you will hopefully land among the stars.
- Live vigorously. Seek the toughest training possible, so you will be confident and well prepared when it comes to your time of being independent (at work and in life). Do not seek an easy life, especially when you are young. Paint your life with diverse and meaningful explorations and adventures.
- Be passionate and persevere with determination. Work on something that you love and love the work that you do. You will also find that peers with a similar spirit will join and you are never alone in the journey, if you live with passion.
- Bring your “A” game to every task that you have committed to. Success is hard work, although only hard work will seldom make it to success. Work hard, work smart and be ready for alternatives.
- Be proactive – Volunteer for challenges! Sometimes you will find that stepping out of the comfort zone is actually fun and I am most certain that you will find it satisfying when you see how much you have advanced from the old self across time!
Scientists are all born with curiosity – Let’s keep nurturing it with the opportunities around. Do exploit the support from WIS @ LKCMedicine and be a Wonder Woman yourself too! Life is too short to live the dream of others – Craft your own now!