Who We Are

The Society for Women in Natural Sciences (WiNS), founded in 2014 by Prof. Katherine Elvira, Dr. Daniela Paunescu-Bluhm, and Dr. Jessica Schulz, is open to all female PhD students and scientific staff in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences (D-CHAB), the Department of Biology (D-BIOL), the Department of Physics (D-PHYS) and the Department of Materials (D-MATL) at ETH Zürich. Our aim is to promote gender equality and to provide a networking platform to connect women in science, both socially and scientifically. So what can you expect from us?

AWARENESS: We host events to raise awareness of the issues faced by women in the scientific community.

CAREERS: We strive to offer you which opportunities await you after your studies – whether in academia or in industry. We are inviting top-notch professionals to give you a peek behind the blinds of their work environment.

FUN: Throughout the year we have social events to get to know your peers in an informal setting and who knows you might end up finding new friends, collaborations, shared experiences, or all of the above.

YOU: WiNS is always open to discussing any personal or work problems you may have and putting you in contact with the right people to help. Just write us a mail at wins@chem.ethz.ch.


Key Questions:

1. What are your main objectives as a society?

Fundamentally, the Society for Women in Natural Sciences (WiNS) is a platform to connect women in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences (D-CHAB), the Department of Biology (D-BIOL), the Department of Physics (D-PHYS) and the Department of Materials (D-MATL) , both personally and professionally. We aim to increase awareness of gender stereotypes and factors affecting women’s careers in science.

2. Why did we feel the need to have this group?

Daniela says: We need more female role models in academia and industry to help us make informed decisions on our next career step.
Emma says: I thought this was a great way to get to know more women in the department.
Maude says: To increase awareness of women in science and gender stereotypes that still exist today.
Katherine says: I have seen women’s societies in other universities around the world and I thought it would be a good idea to start one here.
Jessi says: It’s a good way to have close contact with industry and really focus on women’s careers.

3. How do I become a member?

Becoming a member of WiNS is easy, just sign up for our mailing list here. All female members of D-CHAB and D-BIOL are automatically included in the mailing list.

4. How do I stop being a member?

You simply unsubscribe from our mailing list, you can do this here or find the link at the bottom of any of our emails.

5. As a member, do I have to pay?

You don’t have to pay a thing!

6. What kind of events do you plan and how often?

We currently arrange events centered around 3 main themes: career, awareness and fun. See our Events page for more information on both past and upcoming events.

7. How are you funded?

Our events are supported by participating organizations, companies, D-CHAB, D-BIOL and EQUAL. See our Partners/Sponsors and Events page for more information.

8. How can I become involved with WiNS?

We would love more people to become involved with WiNS! You can do anything from baking a cake for an event, helping design posters, contributing ideas for events, or becoming part of the committee. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

9. What is your position within ETH (e.g. legal association?)

WiNS is an independent legal association, you can find our constitution here. We have close links with AVETH, VAC, PSA and EQUAL. You can find more of our links on our Partners/Sponsors page.

10. Are men allowed to join events?

We believe it is important to include men when discussing gender issues, therefore some of our events are open to men as well. However, some of our events are only targeted toward women because we feel that it is important to provide a space for the few women in science to interact with each other.

11. Aren’t you discriminating against men by having a women-only society?

Of course we’re not! Providing a forum for a minority group to meet is not discriminating against the majority. And women are certainly in the minority in science! You can find more information on the relevant Swiss law here.

12. How can I contact the committee?

Contacting WiNS is easy, you can write an email to the committee here. Or find out how to contact specific committee members on our Committee page.

13. I am interested on the topic of women in science, where can I find more information?

Some time ago, Professor Meg Urry gave a great talk at the ETH about women in science; you can find the text here. WiNS also organized a talk with Professor Renate Schubert, the ETH President’s Gender Delegate, where she discussed gender stereotypes; you can find her presentation here. You can read a very interesting study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) about a randomized double-blind study that shows how gender bias affects women in academia here. The internet is full of more detailed information than we can provide here, so do take a look if you’re interested or get in touch with the committee if you have specific questions we could help with.

14. I am a bachelor’s or master’s student – can I join WiNS?

Of course! We are always happy to have new members join WiNS. Not only is it great for us to get fresh new ideas, it’s also good for your CV. We welcome all women who are passionate about advancing women in science, from BSc students to professors!

15. Is WiNS the only women’s society at the ETH?

No, we are not alone! There are other women’s societies in other departments at the ETH. They are all listed by EQUAL, the official ETH chance equality office: