Corporate news // 08.03.2023 // DECTRIS

Sonia Fernandez from DECTRIS: “I don’t want special opportunities, nor do I want to be discriminated”

Dr. Sonia Fernandez, R&D Scientist at DECTRIS

A 7-minute read

Today, some 21% of DECTRIS’ full-time employees identify as female. The share has been increasing slowly in recent years, and while we’d like to see a higher number here, we recognize that it’s not particularly low for a Swiss technology company. Furthermore, our goal is not a certain proportion of non-male employees. What we do prioritize is inclusion and salary equity. Read what our R&D scientist Dr. Sonia Fernandez has to say about her relationship with International Women’s Day.

Dr. Sonia Fernandez, Research and Physics scientists at DECTRIS:  I want to start by thanking the organizers for bringing attention to this important topic of gender equality. I apologize if my words come across as too strong or political.
Both the topic and the celebration of this day are complex subjects. I am lucky to live in Europe. I can't imagine what it's like in some other parts of the world. In the past 10 years, I have lived in different European countries. It is very interesting to see how International Women's Day is perceived differently, from one country to another. In Italy, women celebrate with other women, men give them compliments and small gifts, and there are discounts for women everywhere in town that day. In Spain, it's more focused on demonstrations for equality, and complaints about what is still missing, while there might also be some gifts from partners. In Switzerland, in my experience, the day is not widely recognized.

For me, International Women's Day should be about advocating for equality between men and women, but I actively do nothing for it on that day. I hope that eventually, this special day will not exist, because society will see us as equal and there will be no discrimination in the workplace or in funding opportunities. I personally don't want special opportunities because of my gender, nor do I want to be discriminated against for it.

As a young female scientist in Europe, I am grateful to have not experienced discrimination based on my gender in my workplace (at least that I know of). I am also grateful to DECTRIS, where I always felt fairly treated and valued by my managers and colleagues. 

However, I grew up being told that it would be harder for me because I am a woman. I grew up having to question my own worth and whether I was being treated fairly, and I grew up hearing comments from mediocre men about successful women. It's encouraging to see that society and governments are trying to change this, but unfortunately, sometimes they do more harm than good with the way to achieve it. 
One final thought: every man has a woman close to them – be it a sister, mother, cousin, daughter, or partner. The discrimination a man shows towards women today will ultimately impact him indirectly in the future.

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