Pod of the Week - Gothenburg


This week we are excited to highlight one or largest pods - Gothenburg, Sweden. Found on the western coast of Sweden between Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm, the Gothenburg pod formed because they were dissatisfied with the rate of change in the situation for women in science. They have now gathered a large (400+ in the facebook group!) diverse group of scientists who are dedicated to identify structural gender inequalities in the scientific community and work towards correcting them. Read on to learn more about this awesome group of women!

Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Number of women: We have 105 on our mailing list and 400 in our Facebook group. I would estimate we have 150 women who have come to at least one event in the last 6 months.

Frequency of meeting: We aim to have one public event and one private event each semester (4 meetings per year)

Mission statement: We aim to identify and visualize structural gender inequalities in the scientific community and work towards correcting them by:

  • Creating a network and facilitating mentorship for women scientists
  • Encouraging and inspiring young women in scientific interests
  • Shedding light on gender inequalities in science

How did you come to this mission, why is it relevant to your community?

We had our first meeting with around 15 women last Spring. These women were chosen based on their diversity with respect to career progression and what kinds of work they did. Thus, we were a fairly mixed group with many in academia at different universities, but also women scientists in industry and education. Since the three founders of the pod worked in similar fields we also wanted women in unrelated fields. We worked in small groups to together to find a common mission.

What is the secret to your pod's rapid growth?

That’s difficult to say! I think that, unfortunately, there were many of us who were unhappy with the current situation for women in science, or rather disappointed, with how slowly things change. This group was started at a time when not only were there many women feeling marginalized, but also a general anti-science political atmosphere. Since we very purposely tried to begin the pod with a diverse core group that allowed us to advertise our activities more widely.

What was your most successful event thus far? Who did it serve, and what was the drive to make it happen?

In some ways, our most successful events have been our more casual mingles and networking meetings. It allowed a diverse group of women to share their experiences. We think it’s important to create a strong network that will allow us to be more active in our community as a group. As far as number of people though, our public hosting of the play ‘Scandal!’ was most attended with around 100 people. Scandal! is a 2-women play about the women who have and have not won the Nobel prize.

What initiatives are you excited to push forward for the rest of 2018?

There is a subgroup of us who are interested in collecting and publishing data about gender inequality in academia in Sweden. We also are hosting two seminars about this topic before the summer. I think this may have the most immediate impact in our local pod.

We also have begun networking with other groups who arrange school outreach and public engagement with science to connect more women scientists to these activities. One of our members won this year’s Science festival’s Science Slam!

In the Fall, we plan to continue with our networking activities but focus also on science education.

Pod Leaders:

Anne Farewell (Microbiologist), Malin Hernebring (Cell biologist) and Nan Albertson (Microbiologist and Small business owner)