An exciting "social outcome" of Inverse Days 2014 was the launch of a network of women in the Finnish Inverse Problems community. The Finnish Centre of Excellence in Inverse Problems committed long ago to the goal of gender equality and the percentage of women researchers in the group is higher than the average in the field of mathematics. In the University of Helsinki mathematics group, at the moment we count 5 grad students (out of 13) and 2 postdoc researcher (out of 9), for a total of 7 women out of 22 junior researchers (32%).
However, we have a long way ahead to improve the situation for women in research and grant equal opportunities to both women and men.
As a further effort, the group that gathered during Inverse Days, decided to:
- set up a mailing list for women in the Finnish Inverse Problems community. Such mailing list aims to be a "safe haven" to discuss any gender&research -related topic, such as discrimination issues, personal obstacles, solutions against the gender gap, mentorship opportunities... and much more. In the name of privacy, the mailing list will be close and identity verification of each applicant will be carried out. If you want to join please contact me personally.
- establish an active mentorship program, at first for women (for testing), then for everybody. Mentorship is one of the most popular and effective solutions to encourage women in science. This should help young researchers to have a wider vision of the world of research, working in Finland and balancing various aspects of life.
Such initiative is leaded by Dr. Tanja Tarvainen from the University of Eastern Finland and supported by the Finnish CoE in Inverse Problems and FIPS. I am very happy to work in a group that shows sensitivity towards such themes. I am fully convinced that women, as well as diversity in general, could enrich our research community very much.