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Tuesday, 13 October 2020 - Thursday, 15 October 2020

Gender Roles and Their Impact in Academia


Tuesday-Thursday, 13-15 October 2020




European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), European Molecular Biology Lab (EMBL), and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)


Abstracts: 14 September 2020
Registration: 22 September 2020


Register here
Registration fees 50-75

Further information and programme

Conference website

Women are not rising to the higher echelons of any career in the numbers expected based on the number of women entering universities and the workforce. When it comes to explanations for this phenomenon, debates have focused on biology and societal structures.

With this conference, we want to explore our understanding of how gender roles may be shaped by biology and by social structures. We will ask how the progression of men and women in academic and related careers is influenced by the linkages between biology, society, and gender roles. An important part of the conference will be a focus on solutions: taking into account biology and social structures, what do all people need to enjoy equal opportunities in work, in general, and academic advancement, in particular? What institutional support and higher-level policies are needed to assure that “opportunity” does not mean merely “possibility”, but that those work and advancement goals can be realistically attained by those who want them?

The conference will focus on the situation in academia and other institutions, but we expect a more extensive discussion on gender roles at work. In addition to the plenary talks, there will be breakout sessions to allow more focus on the areas of workplace and society and on practical issues around encouraging and recognising a more inclusive view of merit.

We invite registered participants to apply for oral contributions for the breakout session or to present their activities and research results at the poster sessions. Please submit an abstract via the registration system. Please note that as a poster presenter you may be selected to give a flash talk

Session Topics

  • What is the impact of gender stereotypes in society and the workplace?
  • How do we define and recognise merit in academia in a gender-neutral way?
  • Are the aims of academia compatible with the aim of equal opportunities for all?
  • What are the measures successfully applied in different institutions to support gender equality?


  • Edith Heard, Director General of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory
  • Maria Leptin, Director of the European Molecular Biology Organization
  • Erin O’Shea, President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

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