8 March 2019
The EPO celebrated International Women's Day on 8 March by launching "Women in the Lead", a mentorship programme in which senior managers will mentor women at the Office. The mentorship programme will give women at the EPO the chance to explore with a more experienced manager options for further development and thereby enhance the chance for a career and personal growth.
The announcement of the initiative was made at today`s conference hosted at the EPO sites in Munich and The Hague. The event was attended by some 200 staff from the EPO's offices in Munich, The Hague, Berlin and Vienna, and follows on from a conference dedicated to gender diversity held last year.
Opening the conference in Munich, EPO President António Campinos reiterated the Office's commitment to gender diversity and its determination to support staff pursuing management opportunities: "Today marks a significant step in our efforts to achieve greater gender diversity. We're aiming to ensure the EPO is an office of opportunity for everyone, an organisation in which all our employees are given a chance to shine. "
Vice-President Nellie Simon echoed his sentiment and offered advice for women who are interested in managerial careers, but perceive themselves as unready: "Just do it, don't overthink it."
The EPO has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, and is an equal opportunity employer. Since its establishment in 1977, the Office has offered equal pay to women and men, and the 7 000 staff represent some 35 nationalities. Therefore, it is only natural that the EPO plans to further support women in their careers within the Office and encourage girls and women to embark on scientific careers.
Ground-breaking inventions by women are regularly recognised at the European Inventor Award. The winners of last year's edition included four women, the highest number ever, including Swiss physicist Ursula Keller, who was honoured with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, and French researcher Agnès Poulbot who received the Industry Award.
International Women's Day has historical significance: The first European gathering took place in 1911 and garnered support in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Today it is a global celebration of women's social, economic, cultural and political achievements.