#7 - Céline Nauer - Empowering women in tech and science
She has not finished her studies yet, but is already fighting on a daily basis to make her professional sector, tech, a more inclusive one. A place where women and men would fight on equal terms.
Three years ago, Céline Nauer co-founded Code Excursion, a coding school by and for women, conceived as a community. There, she teaches women about programming, in a helpful, passionate and including way. Her goal? To help and encourage women take ownership of such a male-dominated sector.
Since the beginning of her studies, Céline has been navigating in the least feminized academic and professional environments, science and technology. Today, women still represent on average only 30% of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) students. And this percentage decreases with the expertise level: only 5% of leadership positions in the tech sector are held by women.
But these figures have never discouraged Céline. After a bachelor's degree in physics at the University of Zurich, the woman whose aim in life is to learn as much as possible, is now finishing her master's degree in Neuroscience and Computation at the ETH. In this interview, Celine tells how the gender-neutral education she received pushed her down this path. She explains how her years at university, between Zurich and Taiwan, but also in the industry, at Swiss Post Solutions, convinced her to fight for parity and equality in tech and science.
Through her clear and concrete examples, Céline describes why the scientific world today is anything but meritocratic. We talk about the gender bias that the algorithms that shape our daily lives carry within them, and she demonstrates the absolute necessity for diversity in the tech and scientific worlds. Roles models, female initiatives, quotas: we go though all the solutions that can be implemented to promote gender quality.
To everyone who you is thinking about learning how to code, or who would just like to better understand those crucial topics for our democracies, I invite you to dive into this exciting and challenging conversation!
4:52 A brilliant mind: Corina, co-founder of Code Excursion
6:36 Being introduced and encouraged to go into science at an early age
Studies, between Zurich and Taiwan
8:44 Choosing physics: the rational choice to get the most of her studies
10:55 How “I think therefore I am” from Descartes convinced Céline to go into Physics
13:17 Shifting to neuro Sciences and Computation
14:54 Studying at the Institute of Neuro informatics (UZH and ETH)
17:06 Celine’s Master thesis: getting inspired by insects brains to develop navigational algorithms
18:22 Next career steps?
19:25 Taiwanese vs Swiss studies
22:30 “The science world is not a meritocracy”
24:22 Studying in a male-dominated environment
26:14 Facing sexism amongst the students body
27:55 Why it is important to break the glass ceiling
29:12 Female professors should be our role models
30:51 The need for a safe and benevolent learning environment for coding
34:19 The importance of coding knowhow in a digitised society
37:00 A non-profit organisation, dedicated to women, based on a community
40:48 The impact of the lack of women in the tech industry (eg of the Swiss Post Solutions and Ava Women)
44:27 How machine learning algorithms can reproduce the biases of our society
48:24 Sorority as a main weapon to fight inequality and gender biaises in tech
51:20 Final questions
Links and references
To follow Code Excursion :
- Website: codeexcursion.ch/
- LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/school/code-excursion/
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/codeexcursion/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/codeexcursionswitzerland
To follow Céline
- Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/celinenauer/
References in the episodes
- The Institute of Neuro Informatics (ETH and University of Zurich): www.ini.uzh.ch/en.html
- I think therefore I am, Descartes: http://faculty.winthrop.edu/sinnj/HMXP_102/Readings/Rene_Descartes.pdf
People she is talking about
- Corina Schedler, Co-Founder of Code Excursion: www.linkedin.com/in/corinaschedler/
- Nora Wilhelm, Co-Founder Collaboratio Helvatica: www.norawilhelm.org/
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