Science in Germany

Constanze Bonifer bonifer at
Wed Nov 20 11:38:32 EST 1996

Hi Group,

After having gotten a couple of really encouraging emails..thank you all.
All of them were meant to cheer me up and tell me that there are other nice 
things besides science and there are alternatives..
But: My basic mood is not so much one of depression, but rather anger.
I love my job. I do NOT want to give it up. I am very successful, publish 
quite a bit in relation to the really bad working condition one has 
at the University.
I don´t really see why a lot of women are pushed out of science because
the style is as it is.
No, the problem is somewhere else. I had a discussion with an important (?) 
professor yesterday about all these problems and he really was saying, 
well , you know, you probably never went to these local German meetings. This 
is very important. People have to know you. This is much more important than 
going to all these flashy international meetings and even more important than 
to publish a paper in, lets say, JBC (one of our latest).
I thinks, thats sums it up.
I have to admit, I have gone to one or two meetings a year, mostly because I 
was invited to speak. I have teaching to do, I do a lot of research and experiment myself. I simply did not have time to hang around at these meetings and 
kiss some important male´s ....well, you know what I mean.
Yes , I am guilty. I spent my time hanging around on Gordon conferences, 
Keystone meetings, FEBS meetings,Cambridge Symposia and all kinds of 
unimportant gatherings.

So, what does this mean? It means that sticking your nose everywhere and 
creating a lot of hot air is much more important than good science. And networking is something a lot of women have problems with. Being the only women in 
a lot of faculty and lab would not believe the way these guys interact.  I just hate it!

The awful thing about the whole situation is..whatever you do, its wrong.
In the beginning I had often problems to be heard, because the guys just
 ignored me. So I developed a certain style of speaking which ALWAYS 
gets me attention. However, now they are scared....

So what is to do? Do we create a womens network? Do we try and play the same 
game? Do we adjust to the rules as they are or do we create new ones? I am 
no activist (few scientists are, so little time) but I think it is important 
to speak up and change the rules. At least in the area where you are.

It does not mean that there will be jobs for everyone.
But we should come to a situation where the system is at least fair.

Any ideas?


Constanze Bonifer
Constanze Bonifer
Institut fuer BiologieIII
Universitaet Freiburg
Tel.: 0761 - 2032761
Fax: 0761 - 2032745

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