Janez Potočnik, the European Commissioner for Science and Research gave a speech entitled 'Women and Science: 10 years of fixing the leaky pipe' at the 'Changing Research Landscapes to make the most of human potential – 10 years of EU activities in 'Women and Science' and beyond' conference on 14 May 2008 in Prague.
In his speech Janez Potočnik reflects on the work of the European Commission in addressing the issue of the leaky pipeline and the need for a plumber. He stresses the importance of enthusing children's enthusiasm for science at an early age through means such as 'enquiry-based education'. Stakeholders such as teachers, parents, research managers and research-funding agencies have important roles to play in raising awareness. A new report, which was launched at the conference, looks at the role of research funding agencies as 'part of a systematic effort to map the European research funding landscape from a gender perspective.'
Janez Potočnik calls for proper data upon which grounded and sensible targets can be developed, highlighting the Commissions 'She Figures' reports which bring together data from all Member States. In developing this important resource further, harmonisation of definitions e.g. "academics" is needed.
In looking forward to the future of the Commission's work in this area Potočnik said, "Women and female scientists do not need favours or special conditions. What they need, what you need, is a fair, just and trustworthy environment and consistent policies.
Read Janez Potočnik's speech in full.