Introducing Women in Quantum Development (WIQD)
(CWI.nl) CWI researcher Stacey Jeffery and colleagues started the WIQD network with the mission to bring together female quantum researchers from industry, academia and policy. “The idea to establish WIQD arose when I heard about the so-called ‘leaky pipeline’ of female talent in science”, says Jeffery. Somehow, women leave science at a higher rate than men. “I was wondering why more women are dropping out of science, and conversely, why I had stayed.”
The idea has been received enthusiastically, attracting interest in quantum academia, as well as financial commitments from NWO and the Kavli Foundation. WIQD now aims to bring its mission into practice with a symposium for all quantum researchers in science, industry, and policy.
Jeffery soon found out the answer might lie in her own informal network of colleagues, mentors, and friends. “In graduate school, I was put in a very large group of peers. I noticed it’s easier to find your way around as a scientist when you’re from a big group, and can rely on their advice. Also, a bigger network allows you to see more role models and different types of scientists.”
Jeffery started the WIQD network with Julia Cramer, a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University. Together they set up a steering committee, which now consists of eight members from a wide variety of backgrounds. Jeffery: “This means the committee has a broad view on networking, and different perspectives can be brought into every aspect that’s being discussed.” She notes that WIQD does not exclusively welcome female participants. “Anyone who thinks they could benefit is welcome to join.”