DEWIS

DEWIS is the women’s network of scientists at the TU Delft and our mission is to help TU Delft to attract more women and create an inclusive, safe environment that makes women want to stay, while giving them the opportunity to grow and flourish in their academic careers. Another important goal for DEWIS is to reach a male-female ratio that more accurately reflects society.


22 december 2023

Leila Alizadehsaravi 2023 DEWIS Award Winner

The 2023 DEWIS Award goes to Leila Alizadehsaravi, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to diversity and inclusion within our academic community! In her role as a postdoctoral researcher, Leila has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to diversity and inclusion. Leila has been instrumental in driving positive change by actively working to improve equality and diversity practices. Her unwavering commitment to empowering under-represented groups, with a particular focus on women, serves as an inspiration to all members of our academic community! Leila Alizadehsaravi and Rob Mudde Leila's extraordinary work as a co-organiser of the Bicycle and Motorcycle Dynamics Conference held in Delft in October 2023 sets her apart. As the first female co-organiser in the history of this conference series, Leila has played a key role in changing its demographics. Through her initiatives, including travel awards for women and early career researchers from developing countries, expanded promotional efforts, and encouragement of increased female representation on the scientific committee, she has significantly increased female participation from less than 5% to an impressive 20%. These achievements may seem modest in numerical terms, but in the context of this conference series they represent a monumental step towards a more diverse and inclusive future. Leila's efforts have received positive feedback from regular conference attendees, signalling a promising trajectory for increased diversity in the years to come. Her tireless efforts to promote diversity not only shape the present, but also lay the foundation for a more vibrant and inclusive academic community in the future. Leila Alizadehsaravi The selection process for the 2023 DEWIS Award proved to be a challenging task, a testament to the richness and diversity of the proposals put forward by our nominees. From the nominations we selected three top candidates. Each candidate has demonstrated remarkable commitment and excellence in their respective contributions to advancing gender equality and inclusivity. f.l.t.r. Astrid Taal, Rob Mudde, Zofia Lukszo, Leila Alizadehsaravi, Ingrid Mulder, Anna Lukina We are also immensely proud of the outstanding efforts that the other two nominees have made to promote gender equality and foster inclusion within our academic institution: Medina Bandic , a PhD candidate in Quantum & Computer Engineering Department from the Faculty of EEMCS and in QuTech institute. She has been recognised for her exceptional commitment to diversity and inclusivity within the academic community. As well as being an outstanding PhD who has made a significant contribution to the field of science, Medina goes above and beyond to promote diversity in academia. Grazia Bastasin , Program manager at QuTech Academy and Diversity and Inclusion Officer at QuTech, contributing in an outstanding way to gender diversity at QuTech. Grazia's unwavering commitment has significantly enhanced the experience of female staff at QuTech, creating inspiring spaces for discussions, sharing resources, and addressing challenges.

09 oktober 2023

Parents and caregivers: an interview with Aimée Sakes and DirkJan Veeger

Family caregiving is part of the fabric of life. Many scientists, both male and female, have children or are starting a family at the same time as maintaining and building a career. Juggling teaching, publishing, finding a new (or permanent) job, relocating, attending conferences, and actually doing research sometimes requires more hours in the day than exist. So, how do colleagues combine this with parenting? Where do they find support? And what can the organisation do to create a more inclusive working environment where parents can grow and flourish in their careers? DEWIS is talking with scientists with caregiving responsibilities, and we aim to start a dialogue around how we can make changes within the TU Delft to support those scientists who are also parents. In this interview we talk with Aimée Sakes, Assistant Professor at the Department of Biomechanical Engineering at the Faculty of 3mE and her supervisor Professor DirkJan Veeger at the Department of Biomechanical Engineering at the Faculty of 3mE. Aimee received Veni funding from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) in August for her research on catheter technology. DirkJan is the former Department Chair and Director of Education at the Faculty of 3mE. “Managers should embrace (future and current) parents and create an atmosphere within the department in which parenthood is a part of life, including work life.” ― DirkJan Veegers “I think there should be more support for fathers who want to take parental leave or who have to take care of their sick wife and baby during maternity leave. There are still too many preconceptions about men with caregiving responsibilities.” ― Aimée Sakes In this interview we talk with Aimée Sakes, Assistant Professor at the Department of Biomechanical Engineering at the Faculty of 3mE and her supervisor Professor DirkJan Veeger at the Department of Biomechanical Engineering at the Faculty of 3mE. Aimee received Veni funding from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) in August for her research on catheter technology. DirkJan is the former Department Chair and Director of Education at the Faculty of 3mE. What challenges did you face as a parent with an academic career? Aimée: “After I became pregnant with my second daughter, I couldn’t work more than 50 percent of my hours and I had a lot of guilt. I found it particularly difficult to ask my colleagues to take over my tasks. I felt like I was letting my colleagues down. And I also felt pressure to keep working. Leave doesn’t always come at the right time. So I ended up submitting a large application during my maternity leave, for example. I didn’t want to fall behind in my career.” Where did you go for support? Aimée: “For me, it was essential that my manager, DirkJan, understood my situation. I was given time to recover and DirkJan’s confidence in me really helped me get through this phase.” What can supervisors do to support (future and current) parents? DirkJan: “It’s really good that Aimée came to me talk about this. It was difficult for her because she felt that she was responsible for the situation. But that’s not the point. Starting a family is part of life. There needs to be understanding and support for that and, above all, common sense. Young, ambitious men and women will usually have children. It’s impossible to carry on working with the same intensity as they did before having a family, and it’s unreasonable to expect that of people. I think it’s important to emphasise that this phase and the challenges that come with it are a responsibility for all of us.” What do you think the organisation can do to support parents? DirkJan: “Young people are hugely ambitious, but also feel they have to keep up in the academic race. Maternity leave and illness are events that make you feel like you can’t keep up in the race. This is a sign that the way we value people isn’t really working. We should assess performance in relation to opportunities. This involves evaluating the quality and impact of the staff member’s performance, taking into account the impact of relevant personal circumstances. ( Guideline: Assessing achievement relative to opportunity ) But we still focus too much on things like the H-index, not least because these are easily quantifiable quantities and we won’t change that easily. Therefore, it’s important that we create an atmosphere in the department in which it is normal to be less productive when you have caregiving responsibilities.” Aimée: “It’s important for parents to be able to share experiences with other (future and current) parents. Go and have coffee with a pregnant colleague for example, and tell her your story and how you have dealt with these challenges. This helps people feel less isolated and lets them know it’s okay to ask for help. I also think there should be more support for fathers who want to take parental leave or who have to take care of their sick wife and baby during maternity leave. There are still too many preconceptions about men with caregiving responsibilities.” DirkJan: “I’ve noticed that men hardly ever discuss this. They can, but they don’t. It’s still a taboo subject within the university setting. It all starts with normalising family formation for men and women, and understanding that this phase takes an incredible amount of energy. This is part of life. Managers should embrace (future and current) parents and create an atmosphere within the department in which parenthood is a part of life, including work life.” If you would like to talk more about this topic with someone from DEWIS, please contact us at dewis@tudelft.nl As an (international) employee , it might be difficult to find the right information to suit your situation as a parent. There are a number of topics on this page that may be of interest to you. The TU Delft website Coming to Delft Service for international employees contains a lot of information about your stay in the Netherlands.

Upcoming events

26 februari 2024 12:00 t/m 26 januari 2024 13:30

Does parenthood impact career progression in STEMM? Myths, challenges and solutions.

Does parenthood impact career progression in STEMM? Myths, challenges and solutions. 26 februari 2024 12:00 t/m 26 januari 2024 13:30 - Locatie: on campus, to be decided | Zet in mijn agenda All (current and future) parents (m/f/x) and all who are interested are warmly invited. Lunch is included. Parenting and Caregiving No. llI, third in a series, with Dr. Isabel Torres More women than ever before are pursuing careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), yet they remain vastly underrepresented in this sector, particularly in leadership positions. A recent study conducted in the US shows that 43% of mothers and 15% of new fathers leave full-time employment within 3 years of having children, and research by Mothers in Science further revealed that these alarming trends are global. Dr Isabel Torres will discuss the invisible barriers that hinder the career advancement of caregivers, and especially mothers, and explain why caregiving should be at the center of discussions and interventions to close the gender gap in STEM. She will show data from a pre-pandemic global survey with 9,000 respondents (mothers, fathers and non-parents) in over 128 countries conducted by Mothers in Science to study the impact of parenthood on career progression in STEMM (STEM + medicine). These findings reveal that caregivers face multiple structural barriers and widespread stigma in the STEMM sector with significant penalties on their career advancement and academic success, and mothers are disproportionately affected. We will have group discussions about the different solutions for the different stages of our careers and what we can do to improve equity for parents pursuing an academic career. Isabel is co-founder and CEO of Mothers in Science . After completing a PhD degree in genetics at the University of Cambridge and a postdoc at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the UK, she moved to France where she is currently a scientific editor and consultant. Isabel is also an experienced science writer and communicator. For instance, she was a science writer for PLoS and founder of Microscopes4Schools and Pretty Smart Science , a platform that combines science and art to promote scientific literacy and increase the visibility of women in science. She is passionate about promoting women in STEMM and advocating for gender equality and social justice. She is a mother of four children. REGISTER