Opening of the exhibition 'Pioneers, researchers, leaders. Women of Gdańsk Science'.

The exhibition will be on display from August 5 to September 30 in front of St Catherine's Church in Gdańsk.

Until September 30, a new exhibition can be seen in front of St Catherine's Church in Gdańsk: 'Pioneers, researchers, leaders. Women of Gdańsk science'. On the day of the opening - August 5 - a panel discussion was held at Hevelius Square with three female scientists from the University of Gdańsk. Topics of discussion included women as candidates for the position of rector and advice for young female researchers.

The meeting was moderated by dr Maciej Goniszewski, head of Radio MORS, who began by recalling the work of Elisabeth Koopman, wife of Jan Hevelius and the first female researcher in the Republic of Poland. The topic of the famous astronomer was continued by prof. Małgorzata Książek-Czermińska, who talked about her efforts in establishing a prize named after her: - 'Now, with the establishment of the union of the three largest universities in Gdańsk, the conditions for re-establishing such an award are better than ever,' - she said.

From left: prof. Maria Mendel, prof. Adriana Zaleska-Medynska, dr Aleksandra Brodecka Goluch

After a brief introduction, the panel discussion began. It was attended by prof. dr hab. inż. Adriana Zaleska-Medynska, chemist, director of the Daniel Fahrenheit Association of Universities, prof. dr hab. Maria Mendel, educator, Vice-Rector for Education at UG in 2008-2012, and dr Aleksandra Brodecka-Goluch, oceanographer, who acted as manager of the SEA-EU research cruise from Gdynia to Cadiz. 

The presenter, dr Maciej Goniszewski, first asked the participants what they thought were the most interesting figures in the newly opened exhibition. Prof. Maria Mendel and prof. Adriana Medynska-Zaleska drew attention to people close to their fields, i.e. the first female students of pedagogy at the University of Gdańsk and prof. Wanda Szczepuła - a microbiologist, the first woman to receive the title of professor at the Gdansk University of Technology. On the other hand, Dr Aleksandra Brodecka-Goluch talked about prof. Marianna Sankiewicz-Budzyńska, Pro-rector for Education at PG, who held this role during martial law. 

During the discussion, the question was also raised as to whether Gdansk universities are ready for a woman rector. - 'It will certainly not be the case that women will suddenly appear in all rector positions in Poland. However, we are already seeing the first changes. We are heads of departments, vice-chancellors, so the time will surely come when a woman will become the rector at a university in Gdańsk,' - said prof. Adriana Zaleska-Medynska. The panellists also discussed discriminatory comments that discourage women from applying to important leadership positions.

On a positive note, this theme was concluded by Magdalena Nieczuja-Goniszewska, present in the audience and co-author of the exhibition 'Pioneers, researchers, leaders. Women of Gdańsk science', citing two examples of women rectors at Tricity universities - prof. Ludmiła Ostrogórska, rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in 2008-2016, and prof. Barbara Krupa-Wojciechowska, rector of the Medical Academy in Gdańsk between 1983 and 1990.

dr Ewa Bojaruniec-Król talks about the content of the exhibition.

At the end of the event, University of Gdańsk Museum Director Marta Szaszkiewicz, together with dr Ewa Bojaruniec-Król, head of the Museum of Science in Gdańsk, took everyone to St Catherine's Church, where until September 30 there will be a permanent exhibition presenting the profiles of the most important female researchers associated with the universities of the Daniel Fahrenheit Association. - 'There were so many important figures and so little space on the boards,' - said the organisers of the initiative. - 'We hope that this is just the beginning of a series promoting our female scientists and their achievements.'

Another important aspect of the exhibition is the theme of the social activities of the female researchers.

The exhibition is to travel successively to the campuses of Fahrenheit University and - perhaps - to the campuses of other Pomeranian universities.

Texts and concept of the exhibition: dr Ewa Bojaruniec- Król (MG), Monika Głowińska (MG), Magdalena Jaszcza (UG), dr Anna Lepacka (PG), prof. dr hab. Ewa Łojkowska (UG), prof. dr hab. Beata Możejko (UG), Magdalena Nieczuja-Goniszewska (UG), Marta Szaszkiewicz (UG) and Barbara Ząbczyk-Chmielewska (PG).

Graphic design: Alan Stocki (UG)

We invite you to see it!

Photos by Marcel Jakubowski
Marcel Jakubowski / Press Office UG