The formation of the Women in Clinical Immunology Sciences (WCIS) committee has heralded some wonderful new initiatives for CIS. Our inaugural event at the CIS Annual Meeting in Toronto this year was quite well attended with 130 members in attendance!
We reviewed our common goal of celebrating and elevating women in Immunology, along with empowering them with skills to help them be better leaders and scientists. To help us towards this goal, we delineated four missions for our committee: Awareness and Recruitment, Mentorship, Leadership, and Culture and Resilience...
There are clear differences between expectations and perceived barriers between genders. Many issues with implicit bias can impact hiring and promoting for women in the sciences. We would like to impact this by bringing some of these issues to the forefront.
Mentorship in the sciences is clearly linked to career development, research productivity, and job satisfaction. Gender differences in work style, ambition, and goal setting can impact the mentorship relationships which are established. We have partnered with CIS this year to help our members get connected with mentors who will be more sensitive to their specific needs. We reminded mid-level and more senior members of CIS to sign up to be a mentor and a role model for others! Remember, mentors to women don’t necessarily need to BE women…
There are fewer women in visible leadership roles in the sciences. However, women who are exposed to successful female leaders were more likely to be empowered themselves. We are currently working on programming with specific learning modules in order to help teach skills which will be useful to anyone wanted to enhance their leadership and team-building skills.
Culture and Resilience
The idealized version of a dedicated worker in the sciences often causes conflict with personal identity and work-life satisfaction. These concerns, along with others, can also lead to frequent burnout. This mission component will address these issues with education and structured support surrounding Life Balance, Career Flexibility, Burnout, and Family Care.
Finally, as we begin this journey together, we felt one of the best ways to bring awareness and celebration to our cause was to honor current female immunologists who have made a lasting impact on the field (and on us). We hope you will enjoy getting to know these amazing women over the next few months and that they inspire you to make your own lasting impact on our world!
Victoria Dimitriades and Alexandra Freeman
Co-Chairs, Women in Clinical Immunology Sciences committee
"Some women fear the fire. And some women simply become it. " - r.H. sin