Sunday, January 30, 2011

Study material in the kitchen - how to take your work home

As a woman scientist you probably find interesting phenomena and study material in the household, especially in the kitchen and sometimes your interesting study material may end up as a dish... Especially if you need to buy a big piece of vegetable to use only a small part of it in the experiments...  (And even more so if you are in general not particularly well-paid, and most grants do not accept greengrocer's bills, so anyway you have to pay from your own money for it.) There were times when I tried all possible recipes of the plant actually studied in the lab, and my family started to become fed up with it...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dream Team

Being a woman in science you can probably only dream about a real team and about leading a team. However, you have a lot of opportunities to observe how top dogs build up their highly effective teams. Based on this recipe, as a very ambitious boss, you only need a lot of Shiva-droids for the dirty job in the lab and a pussycat candy doll to spend your time in a charming, inspiring and positive environment, to blow up your ego from time to time, and to entertain you. Having several candidate pussycat candy dolls (a real harem of such young 'scientists', with eventual competition between the girls) might make the situation even more interesting for you. (To be honest and correct, the doll is only optional, not all bosses have or need it, but unfortunately I have never had such a boss.) Later (in the upcoming comic strips) I will show you how the presence of other real women (in real science) can spoil this ideal situation in the lab.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Labcoats for Women in Science - different fashion models

Working in a lab, you definitely need a lab coat. Lab coats say pretty much about people wearing them. This comic strip shows only one aspect of this phenomenon. So, please feel free to choose one or two models of our latest lab coats (and this way I can continue to introduce you the archetypical women in science).

Monday, January 17, 2011

Poster sextion - real "Stripped Women in Science"

Indeniably there are plenty of situations when young and attractive women in science (in this case Ms. Amanda Beauty) can get the full attention of their (mainly male) audience, either (i) at oral presentations or (ii) in the poster section or (iii) during social events on conferences, or simply (iv) at entry exams or (v) at any kind of oral exams. (In the middle you see an upper view of the exhibition hall with the poster section.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Different ambitions

Hi! These are archetypical namecards (representing different ambitions, achievements and carreer options) of scientists whom I have "met" during my scientific carreer. I think that the three different namecards of women in science presented below describe well the possible carreers and ambitions that women can get in science. At the same time, this is an easy way to introduce you the heros of my comic strips. You will soon meet and know them better...

This is the first day of the rest of my life

Hi, I promise that my first comment was the longest one. I am much more familiar with drawings and very few words saying much more about the situation of women in science than long letters filled with tears, self-pity and agony.
So let's start with my first comic strip about how I felt about my situation in science after I gave birth to my first child and decided to stay at home for at least 1 year with him.


Hi everybody,

I hope that this is just the beginning of a beautiful blog and of many beautiful friendships... This is a blog written by a desperate female scientist who tries desperately to be a mother, a wife and a housekeeper (briefly a real desperate housewife) as well. Trying to find the equilibrium between family/private life/hobbies and science in a scientific world still ruled by men. A very hard world ruled by men and by other women with different strategies to survive in science. The blog is inspired first of all by the fantastic blog of Viktor S. Poór on the homepage of Nature (, and of course by all my colleagues, first of all by my dearest boss and by my desperate situation in science after having decided to have a baby. I also have to mention the Women in Science prize of L'ORÉAL and UNESCO which partially provided the idea for the blog title. This is a prize that really tries to encourage women in science, and first of all to get women scientists in the center of the attention, so I think that it is adequate to cite and thank them here for this effort. And of course the title of the blog ('Stripped Women in Science') refers also to scientific prostitution and to sexism in science - phenomena that are undeniably present in science and that make our lives even harder.

I did not want to make this blog official (although it was very tempting to have a blog on Nature's homepage), because I did not want to have any rules, control and obligations. All women in science with small kids must understand why a woman cannot afford in such a situation a blog with obligatory comments each two weeks. However, I will try to manage to put on comments as often as possible, and I am open to any ideas and suggestions about how to improve the blog, which situations to show in my comic strips and how to make more women laugh about their desperate situation in science. On the other hand, due to the highly personal nature of this blog, and to problems with sexism and other ideas, I preferred to make it my own blog, with my own responsability and control on the content.

Having ambitions in science but also for a real home and a family, we must manage to keep everything in hand, to have a highly organized and planned life (when possible), and at the same time we have to deal somehow with the huge stress and pression that we have from the professional side. Will I loose my positions, cooperations, perspectives or job in science if I have a baby? This is a question that has been haunting me for the last few years. Now, having my first baby I am facing the same question, trying very hard not to miss any moments of my offspring's development and of my scientific evolution at the same time... And all this without the impression to have my boss or my colleagues standing by me in this situation. Out of sight, out of mind - everybody forgets about me since I have been staying at home with the baby, everybody forgets to inform me about possibilities, news, etc. That is, I have to fight even harder than before if I do not want to give up my carreer. In spite of decreasing, the stress still increased with my maternity leave. So, finally I found out that the only remedy to this hard situation is laughter, humour and irony. Otherwise I would not survive. I would not go through it as a woman, as a scientist, a mother, a wife and a housewife.

Finally, I hope that with the laughter and irony I may help other women in science to continue their carreers and not to give up their ambitions. And if this blog would change the mind of some male scientists, or would make them think about the hard situation of women in science in their environments, that would be far more that I have ever hoped for.