Note on Self-Leadership Workshop for Women Scientists

EMBO was founded in response to the need for an organisation to represent the interests and achievements of molecular biologists in Europe. The majority of the programmes and activities that EMBO undertakes are likewise in response to community needs, expressed through the members or through the many scientists who make use of the EMBO programmes each year.

The Self-Leadership Workshop for Women Scientists has been developed in response to a need expressed by women, who often face sex-specific challenges in their work, and whose talent can be lost from science as a result.

In each of the years in which we have run and advertised the course, we have received criticism from concerned scientists of both sexes that a course run only for women is counter-productive to improving the situation. Those who have criticized us have acknowledged the challenges faced by women and have expressed a wish to address them, but have disagreed with our approach in this case. EMBO is mindful of and grateful for this constructive criticism. However, we also listen to the voices of women scientists asking directly for this training to boost their resilience, self-confidence and self-leadership.

On balance, therefore, EMBO will continue to offer the Self-Leadership Workshop for Women Scientists as part of our 'Lab Leadership' training. The feedback we receive is that the course is helpful for those who attend it. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that men can also benefit from this training, and that scientists of both sexes might prefer a more inclusive course. We therefore also run a version of this course for scientists of all genders that is also highly appreciated by those who attend it.

EMBO remains committed to promoting excellence in the life sciences through the selection, funding and fostering of talented researchers of both sexes.

- Maria Leptin, EMBO Director