July 22, 2020

Rizlan Bernier-Latmani spearheads EPFL commission for promotion of women in science

NCCR Microbiomes member Rizlan Bernier-Latmani chairs the Commission on the Status of Women Faculty at EPFL, established in 2018 to evaluate the status of female professors at the institution. The Commission has now published a report describing challenges faced by female professors and outlining measures to improve the status of women at EPFL. 

The Commission collected quantitative data on resource allocation, fundraising, hiring and promotion practices, gender distribution of leadership positions, and grievance numbers and their gender distribution. In addition, interviews with professors of both genders gave a qualitative impression of faculty experiences such as work-life balance, gender climate and the integration of new faculty members. Based on these analyses, the Commission puts forward a set of recommendations to improve the status of women faculty. Interestingly, the implementation of some of these measures began while the study was being conducted. 

“The fundamental problem is that women do not fit the stereotype of what a professor is expected to look like and, as a result, suffer from implicit bias” explains Bernier-Latmani, who is confident that their findings will help to mitigate the issues identified. The full report can be found here.