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SHEroes of Science, rounding off the prolific Women in Science 2018-19 year on a high note

On May 25th, in the French International School of Hong Kong’s auditorium, the conference SHEroes of Science, breaking clichés from schools to firms rounded off a significant year for the team of students of the Women in Science project.

Throughout the year, a motivated group of students from FIS, guided by their Physics and Chemistry teacher Dr. Anaëlle Barthelon, has built a project destined to spread awareness and promote the presence and importance of women in science, a field still too often considered “masculine”. The Women in Science initiative, launched by the discussion between Dr. Cedric Villani, who was awarded the Fields Medal in 2010, and students at FIS in November, has developed over several months, combining collective discussions and fun activities to pave the way to the conference on May 25th. Students from 14 to 18 years old will have implicated themselves in various events around the topic of women in science throughout the year, developing the impact of the project by targeting the younger generations of today, to change the world of tomorrow.

In January, a group of five students met with Anaëlle Barthlon and began to build the SHEroes of Science conference, receiving on a panel six inspiring personalities from all fields and backgrounds: Dr. Caroline Dingle, evolutionary ecologist and professor at Hong Kong University and founder of the group “Women in Science and Engineering” within the university, Dr. Amel Ghouila, bioinformatician at the Pasteur Institute of Tunis and regional ambassador of Technovation, Sarah Lazarus, journalist at CNN and host of the “Scientific Café” of Hong Kong, Alexandre Makosza, HR Director at FIS and student guidance counsellor, Belinda Liu, HR at Schneider Electric et Aymeline Guelfucci, engineer at Dragages and winner of the prize for “Female Manager” at the ESTP awards. The Women in Science group has developed the project with the notable support of the French Chamber of Commerce.

An active and fascinating exchange engaged the panellists on many different aspects of the topic - self-confidence, their own personal and professional journey as women, the importance of discussing sexism in education and scientific fields, and more. Every speaker connected with the audience and shared their own perspective on the issue, with ideas on new perspectives to improve gender equality in science for future generations.

The audience of approximately one hundred people of all ages took part in the exchange too, enriching their outlook on the matter and asking crucial questions during the Q&A session at the end of the conference. Discussions also continued beyond the four walls of the auditorium over a cocktail reception, addressing points made throughout the exchange.

It is with great enthusiasm that the student-based Women in Science team is proudly passing on the baton to a new group of volunteering, motivated students to develop the project in the 2019-2020 academic year! Next year will be filled with new, exciting projects and events for the team of SHEroes of Science.

Don’t hesitate to follow the project or contact the team on social media for more info!

Inès Vanlaeys et Celeste Cohen