26-30 July 2021
Europe/Berlin timezone

The Women in Technology grass roots community at CERN – an example of women networking in a scientific organisation

28 Jul 2021, 09:30


Parallel session talk Outreach, Education and Diversity T14: Outreach, Education and Diversity


Maria Alandes Pradillo (CERN)


The creation of scientific knowledge has transitioned from largely solitary work to collective efforts embedded in large collaborations, placing a new emphasis on social networks as the mechanism linking interdependent scientists across departments and universities. Professional networks have proven to be a key contributor in the career success and their presence becomes even more important for underrepresented communities. In this context, the Women in Technology community at CERN (WIT) was born in the early 2016. At the time, two new members of the IT Department started this grass roots community when realized that women networks from which they had benefited at university and in industry did not exist at CERN, or in the local area.

The main aim of the WIT community is to create a supportive network for exchanging experiences and career advice among women working at CERN. It came on the scene to complement the other professional community networks within he diverse CERN environment, like LGBTQ network and country networks. WIT activites span on different fronts: interviews featuring senior women scientists to inspire the younger generation, social events such as movie screenings and aboratory visits, and a yearly mentoring scheme between more experienced members as mentors and less experienced ones as mentees. Moreover it also strengthens the visibility of women scientists in local schools through outreach lectures and events. The WIT community today comprises more than 500 members, has organised three mentoring yearly programmes and is present in multiple outreach events, both in the local area and world wide through social media.

Women networks, such as WIT, are beneficial to both the network participants and the organisation as a whole: not only do they provide a place to connect and share common experiences but also they can interface with CERN internal programs, such as CERN’s official Diversity & Inclusion, transfering the community’s ideas and advocating for minoriy’ issues. It has to be noted that even if WIT was born in the spirit of supporting women, it actually welcomes members from all genders and all technical fields.

This contribution describes how WIT is structured and the different activities organised by the community; it also highlights how networks like WIT contribute to making an impact on diversity and inclusion in a scientific research organisation like CERN.

Collaboration / Activity Women in Technology

Primary authors

Presentation Materials