We Promote Ourselves

The Swiss Network of Female Historians arose out of the need to promote female* historians and to make their work more visible. This profound need, which has grown over many years, was nurtured by the realization of various female historians working in diverse professional contexts that the noble goal of equal opportunities has not yet been achieved.

Due to the historically grown homosociality that characterizes social dynamics, women* are less promoted. A circumstance that will not automatically change in favor of women* if you look at the figures for management positions and chairs (the proportion of women in public and private research in Switzerland is usually below the European average; not even 25% of professorships are occupied by women, Federal Statistical Office, figures for 2015 or She Figures for figures for 2018).

We are now changing this situation ourselves. Instead of falling prey to a lachrymose style, we emancipate ourselves from this professional reality and pragmatically make use of a strategy that has always been successful: the network. According to Iris Bohnet, author of «What Works. Gender Equality by Design», networks represent a funding instrument that seems particularly suitable for women, partly because female role models in higher positions are so rare (Bohnet, 2016).

The Swiss Network of Female Historians is a community of women* who benefit from each other and can make contacts via the network in order to successfully advance their careers. By means of various offers (mentoring, news, blog, provision of relevant and current research, network lunch, etc.), it should offer a platform on which female* historians can make their work visible, expand and discuss it. Due to the «leaky pipeline», many classic funding instruments logically only take effect further up the career ladder, which is why it is an explicit concern of ours to provide strategic support for future female* historians already during the Master's program (Marie Heim-Vögtlin grants supported both female doctoral students and female postdoctoral researcher* until they were converted to PRIMA – Promoting Women in Academia – in autumn 2017, thus supporting women* at postdoctoral level; AcademiaNet supports female scientists only from very high qualification levels, etc.).