"It is important to have role models."

PhD Student Jana Cox is a member of Young Women of Geoscience, which is a faculty wide group for postdocs and PhD’s to help create a better, more diverse and inclusive environment in the faculty.

"I am originally from Ireland, but I moved to the Netherlands during my masters degree. When I studied in Ireland, my bachelor degree, we were exactly fifty-fifty gender split. Which is unusual, I think anyway, but I never really sort of felt that my gender mattered.

When I came here as a student, I think I became much more aware of diversity and inclusion issues than I had been before. I think in my first class I was one of only two internationals and I was the only international female in my whole class. And that really makes you feel different, you feel like you are something or someone different and I hadn’t really experienced it before. More than that, I never saw teachers, professors or student-assistants that were like me and to me that made a difference. I didn’t see people in the roles that I wanted and it is important to have those role models there. I didn’t have any female teacher the entire time I studied my masters here, which to me was completely bizarre, because when I was in Ireland I had lots of female teachers. I think maybe I became much more aware of it when I was here, than I had ever been before.

Diversity is all about having a diverse group of people. It’s about the university hiring and looking for students that have this diverse background. And then inclusion is more about every one of those people feeling valued and important. A common thing that people say is that ‘everybody should have a seat at the table’, but for me it is more than that. It is that everybody at that table should also feel valued and important and that what they do and their experiences that those things matter and that their voice is just as valid as somebody else’s."