Women in Data Science: Towards Gender Balance in Research

Written by Irena Maus

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Women remain a significant minority in the Data Science field, driving the digital revolution. Although the gender gap in the Data Science world is closing, progress is very slow.

Building communities and educating young women about their paths in data sciences can be a tremendous help. That's why big companies like Bayer AG have set up internal Women in Data Science (WiDS) initiatives and are tackling this problem head-on.

In 2021, Bayer AG and de.NBI/ELIXIR Germany have joined forces and reported on opportunities for women in the Data Science field from the perspective of both organizations. In the last two years, we organized two virtual public events entitled "Women in Data Science – Perspectives in Industry and Academia" showcasing women doing outstanding work in Data Science across sectors. More than 250 participants from all over the world attended these lecture series with a vision and need for a community. All in one, ten fantastic female professionals from academia and industry have shared their experiences and expressed their recommendations on building their careers and advancement opportunities. We are very grateful to them for sharing their experiences with us.

Amonida Zadissa   EMBL-EBI, Hinxton, UK
Bérénice Batut   de.NBI/ELIXIR Germany, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, DE
Janine Felden   de.NBI/ELIXIR Germany, MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, Alfred Wegener Institute - Helmholtz Center for Polar- and Marine Research, Bremen, DE
Katharina Lauer   ELIXIR, Hinxton, UK
Marta Melé   Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Barcelona, ES
Ulrike Wittig   de.NBI/ELIXIR Germany, Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS), Heidelberg, DE
Catherine Sirven   Bayer Crop Science, Lyon, FR
Erica Manesso   Bayer Crop Science, Frankfurt am Main, DE
Floriane Montanari   Bayer Pharmaceutical, Berlin, DE
Jen Spindel   Bayer Crop Science, Chesterfield, USA
Katharina Meier   Bayer Pharmaceutical, Wuppertal, DE
Veronica Lopez Remus   Bayer Crop Science, Monheim, DE

Having male allies in Data Science can also be very encouraging. At our second event in 2021, in coordination with Matt Dimmic (WiDS Guys Lead at Bayer, St. Louis, USA), Tanja Dammann-Kalinowski (de.NBI Administration Office), Arwa Al Dilaimi-Wendler (WiDS EMEA Lead at Bayer Crop Science, Monheim, DE) and Sami Cheong (Co-founder of WiDS at Bayer Crop Science, St. Louis, USA) we discussed what is needed to promote women and recognizing their accomplishments in the Data Science world.

Improving gender representation in Data Sciences benefits everyone - it is good for our workplace culture, professional development, diversity of approaches and points of view, and finally scientific output.

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