Values and Vision
The Weizmann Institute of Science, in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world’s leading institutions for multidisciplinary basic research in the natural and exact sciences. The Institute has historically prioritized excellence as the singular factor in the recruitment of faculty members, students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff, based on the understanding that the brightest minds are the engines of greatest progress. All of its core values support its goal of the pursuit of world-class science.
First and foremost among these values is academic freedom. The research agendas of our scientists and their labs are not determined in a top-down fashion but rather bottom-up—organically—and our research is conducted largely with little heed to borders between departments and fields. This approach allows for creativity, motivation, and ultimately outstanding results.
We pursue truth and accuracy in our research, with no room for exception, and a remarkable work ethic—values that go hand-in-hand.
No less important is the belief that a diversity of perspectives, approaches, cultures, and experiences drive outside-the-box thinking on scientific questions and challenges, thereby leading to new directions and solutions in research and discovery. This inclusive and open-minded environment facilitates unusual or novel ideas, enabling the people behind them to flourish.
Last but certainly not least, we prize and promote community-building as a core value, because we think that a sense of belonging to and a close sense of affiliation with the institution is the basis for dedication and passion, thereby fostering excellence over the long term.
With those values in mind, the management of the Weizmann Institute of Science has completed a draft of its Gender Equality Plan and the Equality Action Plan for 2022-2026 as a next step in the pursuit of excellence and cultivation of talent and community. The Gender Equality Plan outlines and evaluates the current landscape of gender diversity on campus, based on analysis carried out in 2021 of gender-disaggregated data on faculty, staff, and students. It lists challenges and objectives toward creating improved gender balance, including raising awareness and offering instruction on unconscious bias for all campus community members. It also describes financial and human resources allocated to further our end objectives.
Our plan was conceived of and created on the basis of input collected and analyzed from the entire Institute community and is comprised of data from all scientists, administrative and technical employees, postdoctoral fellows, and students at the Institute. It provides the framework to develop, implement, and institutionalize effective strategies around workplace culture, leadership, and employment practice to improve gender balance across the organization, over the next four years.
The importance of a structured plan
The Weizmann Institute has always prided itself on, and taken concrete steps toward, fostering international collaboration and a multidisciplinary environment in which boundaries between disciplines are superficial, enabling fresh ideas to take shape. Promoting greater gender equality is yet another concrete step towards the same goal.
We recognize that our most valuable asset is our people and that diversity fosters excellent science and promotes the development of innovation, creativity, and productivity within the organization. We think that in today’s competitive global environment, the most successful academic institutions will be those that fully utilize the talents and capabilities of all staff.
It is for all these reasons that the Institute has committed itself to ensuring a gender balance within its community and providing equal opportunity for all women and men, across all sectors and positions, in both the scientific and administrative sectors on campus. Our gender equality plan offers us the structure and milestones to ensure that we stay on track to fully leverage the female talent pool, which ultimately strengthens Israeli science overall.
What does the plan include?
The full plan (available upon request) includes data on the current landscape and mandatory process-related requirements related to the following key elements, with information on activities and timelines for each action item:
- Gender balance in leadership and decision-making;
- Gender equality in recruitment and career progression;
- Work/life balance and organizational culture;
- Measures against gender-based violence including sexual harassment;
- Integration of the gender dimension into research and instructional content
- Unconscious gender bias and awareness-raising efforts for all community groups
Weizmann Institute management plans to advance its Gender Equality Plan in full in the interest of furthering the Institute’s mission of generating outstanding basic science research.
Prof. Alon Chen