Tools for a Scientific Career: A symposium for female scientists

University of Saarland and Leibniz INM, Thursday 24th October, 2019

In addition to publications and grant success, visibility may be achieved through conference attendance, presentations, plenary talks, and engagement with the media.” (Jones et al., 2014)

Impactful Presentations: How to talk so people listen

The workshop section of the symposium focused on how to be heard, as female scientists, when presenting in academic contexts.


Despite the undeniable gender bias that exists in academia (e.g.: Wang & Degol, 2017), there are strong arguments why women are needed in STEM fields.


"The lack of visibility of female researchers could impair the acknowledgement for their research, opportunities in their academic career, and even hamper heterogeneity and outcomes in research.” (Kuhl, 2019)


The aim of this workshop was to consider what can we do to encourage our audience to listen to us. The societal expectations women have to contend with on a daily basis are magnified when on a stage in front of our peers, superiors and those with influence over our careers. How women chose to dress, move, speak are apparently all open to judgement (Stavrakopoulou, 2014). Ultimately, whatever a woman chooses to do, how she decides to present herself in public, will be commented upon or criticised. So, following the advise of Eleanor Roosevelt, I suggest we focus on being the best version of ourselves that we can.

Female scientists need to be the ones who make the difference to their own careers, in collaboration with their mentors, colleagues and supervisors. We need to gather the courage to speak up and be heard. We can achieve this with small steps at first, act as if we do actually count (Jeffers, 2007) until we realise one day that we have indeed been counted, included and acknowledged for the contributions made to the world through our research.


Slides used in the workshop + list of sources used.
Impactful Presentations Handout.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.5 MB

References & Book Recommendations


Jeffers, S. (2007). Feel The Fear and Do it Anyway. Random House. (as seen in image)

Jones, T. M., Fanson, K. V., Lanfear, R., Symonds, M. R., & Higgie, M. (2014). Gender differences in conference presentations: a consequence of self-selection?. PeerJ, 2, e627.


Kuhl, E. (2019, July 19). ASCO Presentations Illustrate Sexism and Bias Among Women in Oncology. Retrieved from


Stavrakopoulou, F. (201). Female academics: don't power dress, forget heels – and no flowing hair allowed. Retrieved from


Wang, M. T., & Degol, J. L. (2017). Gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM): Current knowledge, implications for practice, policy, and future directions. Educational psychology review, 29(1), 119-140.