Female power at the BIH: videos of inspiring women scientists and events by women for women

To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) is publishing five new video portraits of women scientists at the BIH and Charité whose research focuses on translational medicine. The BIH is also supporting events for women working in the life sciences.

A cancer researcher, an immunologist, a virologist, a genome researcher and a psychiatrist: what unites them all is their passion for translating their research findings into clinical practice. Whether it is a new cancer therapy, a medication against the immune-weakening virus HIV or an app for kids addicted to games – it is all about turning research into better health. The women scientists present their work in a series of three-minute videos.

Making women scientists visible

Karin Höhne, the equal opportunity officer at the BIH, commissioned the making of the videos. “We have so many women scientists doing outstanding work,” says Höhne. “We want to make them more visible, because they are role models that young women scientists can look up to as an example.” Women scientists and their exciting research projects are still rarely visible, and thus women’s voices are often missing from decision-making bodies and talk shows. The five new videos can be viewed on the BIH website at www.bihealth.de/inspiring-women or on the BIH’s YouTube channel, which already features ten video portraits of inspiring women scientists at the BIH, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC). The BIH plans to continue the series in the future.

Networks for women in the life sciences

In order to increase the visibility of women in science, the BIH has already held two Diversithons at which participants created and edited Wikipedia articles of women scientists and other underrepresented groups in the life sciences. In addition, the Institute offers regular training for early-career women scientists on topics ranging from presentation techniques to leadership skills. An example is the Career Networking and Training Event for International Women Scientists on March 9–10, which is being organized by Charité International Cooperation and the BIH Equal Opportunity Office. Primarily aimed at female postdocs, the event will provide information on scientific career paths in Germany and a networking opportunity for participants. On March 12–13 the BIH is hosting a symposium of the Ladies Science Club that will feature scientific talks and a panel discussion on structural sexism in the scientific world. The Ladies Science Club is a volunteer network of women in the life sciences that was founded ten years ago. At this year’s annual meeting, the Club’s members will for the first time develop a position paper that highlights how to improve the career opportunities and working environment for women in the life sciences. Karin Höhne strongly believes that women must network among themselves more actively than in the past: “Only then will they be able to rise together through the male-dominated ranks of the science establishment and break through the glass ceiling."