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Smart women

Roman streetWhen I saw the title of the conference, “Agriculture growth, jobs, food security and climate: Taking action in response to IPCC[1]” I thought: “We have a key role there!” Young people are a key element to foster change and innovation, they’ll be future actors in the new landscape that’s being designed now; their voices must be taken into account. This conference would be the place to learn about the latest findings on climate change and its impact on agriculture, and it would be the place where the main stakeholders would discuss the way forward, “definitely we have to be there”.

The conference lasted four hours. Plenty of information: two men and a woman presented the facts from the science, from the field and from the policy level. The panel speakers, three men and a woman, tried to unravel “What are the game changers in securing food security under climate change”.

The “summing up” was done by two women. Not really a gender streamed conference, but did you ever see two women at the key positions of such a conference?

When I see these women, with their PhD, travelling everywhere, I wonder how they coped with their professional ambitions and their family lives when they were younger. Do they have a family?

I got married and I wanted to create my family. In the beginnning I thought that my career would reduce its cruising speed, but actually It was me who reduced the rhythm as I was scared about the impact that having “mum too much out of home” could have. However, now I’m not scared anymore! Smart women always find the way to get adapted to the new contexts; these women I met in London were the evidence!

I would have loved one of these professionals told me that there is no reason to stop your activity. How can I make my young professional ladies and colleagues aware of the fact that having a family doesn’t necessarily mean to reduce their professional careers?

My advice works the other way round too. Never stop your personal life because of your career. There is never a right time to have a baby, you’ll never feel ready enough, and you’ll always say “let’s think about that later on.” A very special woman from the scientific sphere told me once: “I hope you’ll never find yourself looking back in time and saying ‘I should have had a baby’.”

Now, seeing myself attending to this conference about “climate smart agriculture” I wish I could tell this woman what a strong and positive impact her advice had in my life.

 

[1] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 

Picture credit: Roman street, by Fred Fokkelman