ICE Issue 9

48 The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer Issue 9 · January 2023 · Tevet 5783 Report Ambition The fourth “A” that I want to discuss, “ambition,” is a little difficult to discuss, because I would like to encourage women to push themselves a little more, to say “yes” when they can, even when it is difficult and even if it comes at a significant expense. When I asked the organizers of an ICS meeting how they ended up with an all-male delegation, they informed that they had asked many women to be part of the delegation, but none of them had said yes. There are many possible “next steps,” including asking more women, and addressing issues that make it hard for women to say “yes,” but it can also include encouraging women to try to say “yes” a little more often, and to push themselves outside of their comfort zone. What does it mean to push outside of our comfort zone? I can take a lesson from the times that I take my children bungee jumping, or rock climbing, or rappelling, with a fabulous tour guide who has now been with our family several times. This tour guide, Ariel, tells us very clearly that is OK to be afraid in certain situations, it is normal to be afraid, but that we can do things even when we are afraid. Even more so, every time we do something even though we are afraid, it becomes a little bit easier to do something similar the next time. We can remember that we are able to do hard things, to do things that make us nervous, and to be successful in doing so, and then we can train ourselves to push even a little bit more. Women can do that in their professional roles too, just as my kids and I can do when we go bungee jumping. We can, and we should, and we will. When we do, we will all benefit. Conclusion With tremendous gratitude to my parents, Dr. Jerry and Syma Levine, my three mild-mannered, well-behaved boys, my former research group at the University of Rhode Island, my current research group at Ariel University, and all of my colleagues, both past and present – you have all been invaluable in enabling me to be as successful as I have been. Let’s keep making everything possible. I am thrilled to be able to continue my efforts to mentor and encourage female students even after my move to Israel in August 2019, including through my participation in the Alpha program for high school girls, as a mentor of undergraduate students in the research laboratory, and as a mentor of a team of undergraduate entrepreneurship students. The entrepreneurship students recently won first prize in a student competition for their ideas focused on the development of a sensor for date rape drugs. I am also thrilled that I have been able to open a new nonprofit organization, WonderLab Israel, where much of my efforts towards educating girls in science will be able to be centralized, formalized, and optimized. Advocacy This agency, and work done using “agency” as a guiding principle, has been done concurrently with my work on advocacy, focusing on advocating for the needs of female scientists in a way that will help address the continued gender disparity. In one example, I was part of a group of faculty and staff members who established the Professional Family Travel Fund at the University of Rhode Island, a fund designed to support faculty members in meeting their caregiving and professional responsibilities while traveling. This fund, which was used almost exclusively by female assistant professors, provided supplementary money for these faculty members to travel with an infant and a caregiver for that infant or to provide assistance for an aging parent while the faculty member was traveling. Attention A third principle, “attention,” refers to the ability to draw attention to injustices, inequity, and unfair situations, particularly by those who have power to highlight injustices against those who lack that power. In one example, I was able to highlight the overwhelmingly male contingent of special delegations that have been brought to meetings of the Israel Chemical Society. In one outcome of this attention, I led a discussion around such gender inequities in the first ever “Power Hour” type discussion at the 2022 Israel Chemical Society Meeting, in September 2022.