Sleep Science Friday: Introduction to the Gender Equality Forum

23 July 2021

For permanent and leading, decision-making positions in academia, it is increasingly difficult to picture women filling these shoes, because they’re simply underrepresented. In the field of sciences, more often than not, these positions are occupied by men. This gender imbalance is prevalent in many science fields and industries, but especially so for sleep science. This is also evident in the broader academic field, where one can see that from the Masters through to PhDs and research levels, the number of females progressing through each stage has a significant drop-off rate.

The former Forum for Women in Sleep Research has now been renamed as the Gender Equality Forum (GEF) to become more inclusive – men, women and non-binary individuals of all ages and career stages should be involved in the pursuit of gender equality. The GEF is being led by new Chairwoman Dr. Caroline Lustenberger, who is on a mission to fix this leaky pipeline (i.e. improve these statistics). Not only is she passionate about gender equality, she is also a SNSF Ambizione group leader at the ETH Zurich, where she develops advanced tools for sleep brain activity modulation and currently studies the role of sleep slow waves in cardiovascular health in humans.

Dr. Lustenberger believes open and inclusive exchange among scientists is essential to tear down barriers that hinder gender equality. To facilitate this, she is committed to firstly, increasing the awareness of the GEF by building a diverse taskforce that can work hand in hand to identify internal and external barriers and then define an actionable plan to tackle said barriers and make change happen. If you’d like to be a part of this, there is currently an open call for new effective members.

Below, Dr. Lustenberger speaks with ESRS’s Executive Manager Jennifer Thomsen about gender equality from the perspective of a female early career researcher on how to ensure gender diversity and gender equality at every step of the academic ladder.

If you want to learn more about the GEF, you can get additional details here.

Recent publications from ESRS members: 

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ESRS Reminders 

Sleep Deprivation Webinar on Demand

ESRS members can watch the Sleep Deprivation webinar on demand in the e-sleep lessons section of the ESRS website. There you will also find the COVID-19 webinar and additional learning materials on sleep.