In 2016 no women were nominates as corresponding members of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, despite the fact that by now women are present in numerous field of science. There are more female university students than male. Where do women disappear after graduation? Do we have to fight for fundamental feminist values in the 21st century? We can elect a president but cannot elect a scientific leader? We discussed these topics with university lecturer and gender researcher Beáta Nagy. (While writing this article we received the news that the new president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Tamás Freund also considered the work of the committee important, therefore Beáta Nagy will continue to participate in the honourable duty.)
Why was the Presidium Committee for Women on the Research Path founded in 2016?
In 2016, in the General Assembly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences – to everybody’s surprise and astonishment – no women were elected as corresponding members, despite the fact that it is the first step to become a full member of the Academy. This case – which was uncommon and disappointing in the 21st century – generated a great debate in the articles of Magyar Tudomány (in English: Hungarian Science). This debate was conducted not only among researchers in Hungary: the news of the Hungarian situation reached as far as Oxford, since several Hungarian researchers are members of foreign academies of sciences as well. (article). Then president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences László Lovász therefore decided to establish the committee and asked me to become a member thereof.
The committee has three main objectives:
1. examine the obstacles due to which women are not elected as Academy members;
2. discuss these problems with men in leadership positions, with the help of women who are already members of the Academy;
3. develop recommendations and measures which change the situation.
Could you mention specific measures from other countries which facilitate the breakthrough of women in science?
In Germany and the United Kingdom serious measures were introduced in order to establish a system supporting women. There are preference rules in both countries; these rules stipulate that only women may be nominated for a certain part of the vacant positions.
Written by: Belayane Najoua, the original article is available on the Közgazdász Online student blog .