To celebrate the 50th anniversary of women obtaining the right to vote in Switzerland, the National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) will introduce you to women working in Swiss research institutes. Today we invite you to meet Barbara Rothen!
Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in science?
No, I always thought that I was not good enough and my male colleagues have more opportunities. Only when my former mentor told me that I could do it that I found the confidence to try it
What do you like about your field of research?
It is very broad and has a big, positive impact for human life
As a woman, have you always been in the minority?
Yes, always in the minority. A positive story – I was attending a conference dinner and came late, so most of the chairs already taken. I then saw a table with only men, some of them whom I knew, and I just went to this table and said that a woman is missing here. They immediately gave me a chair, and it was the best conversation I ever had at a conference dinner. They really appreciated my courage in joining them
As a woman and a scientist, do you consider that you can be a role model for young people who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Yes, I think I can understand the problems they face as a woman and a mother, and try to encourage them much as my former mentor did with me
Did you yourself have a role model that allowed you to become who you are today? Or on the contrary, did you miss this model?
I missed a role model such as a woman with children. Most of the successful women I met had no family. Fortunately this has changed.