So this is the end of my first full week in my new job at the European XFEL. Commuting every morning from lovely small-town Lueneburg, I am adjusting – rushing to get the connection, jockeying for that key position at the doors of the train and to get a seat. No problem, I grew up in Hamburg, the urban instinct is still there and simply had to be woken up again. I’ve been getting to know my colleagues and I am starting to slowly get an idea of what it is I am supposed to be doing.
What, somehow, I hadn’t quite expected…: I sat in a seminar on Wednesday and something seemed ‘different’. Then I counted: 40 men, 5 women.
“Doesn’t matter”, said a friend on facebook, “the men don’t count anyway”. But yesterday, I noticed roughly the same ratio in the canteen. After that, I participated in a meeting with the DESY directorate – guess what… yes, the only woman.
I did feel conscious of that fact, but managed not to let it bother me. Although I did wonder briefly whether my choice of clothing that day – elegant grey slacks, black shoes, off-white knitted jacket… and a light pink t-shirt underneath… would give anyone the wrong idea. But I quickly put that thought aside: there’s nothing to it, things will have to be shaken up.
Luckily, the European XFEL is almost on the right track: going through the current phone list (most positions will be filled later), I am counting 13 women and 24 men – among which are German, British, Chinese, Italian, Russian, French, Spanish and Indonesian citizens. I’m curious to see who else is coming!
This post was first published on Nature Network, which has since been discontinued. The post has been moved to SciLogs.