A recession can be taken as an opportunity: a time to make changes in management practices. Managers must identify what has to be changed and then decide how to implement the changes.
This report provides an indication of possible changes: to attract and retain women – and men – in science and technology, an essential driver of our knowledge-based economy.
The Women in Science and Technology Group was created in 2003, and initially called the Women in Industrial Research Working Group. The change in the name indicates an enlargement of focus: academic institutions and research centres became part of the picture. And this extension corresponded to a real need: the leaky pipeline – the gradual loss of researchers over time – starts at the beginning of a scientific career, in the university lecture halls …
As management experts underlined recently, recessions provoke two diametrically opposite reactions: to become very risk-averse, or to invest for a brighter future. Experience tells us that rolling back anything that looks like change will not help us to get out of a recession. These are times when companies – and other research institutions – must focus on essential investments for their future. They need to modernise their internal structures and corporate cultures. Modernising implies a new management style and it also includes having a genderaware management.
To stop the leaky pipeline and to provide a favourable and well balanced working environment is one way to invest for a brighter future. Providing talented researchers, both women and men, with the right environment to develop their innovativeness and creativity, will be one of the motors driving the next stage of economic progress.