“Challenges for Women in Neurology” has been an amazing session centred on the challenges that women have to face in their careers as neurologists and researchers. The session was covered with three excellent and touching talks by Professors of Neurology and was moderated by Prof. Elena Moro and Dr. Antonella Macerollo.
Prof. Nijdeka Okubadejo, Professor of Neurology at the University Hospital of Lagos (Nigeria), was the first female neurologist in Nigeria. In her presentation, she highlighted the importance of having support from relatives and friends; she said this helped her to find the right balance between her family duties and her training needs. She emphasised the importance for young neurologists, especially for those who are trained in Africa, to have international experiences and good mentors. Further, she shared the results of a very interesting survey conducted among neurologists female in Africa about their life experiences, work challenges and advices for women seeking the career in neurology.
Prof. Cristina Tassorelli is full Professor of Neurology at the Medical University of Pavia (Italy) and President of the International Headache Society. In her presentation, she talked about the “stepping stones” and the “stumbling stones” which have characterized her life and career. She highlighted the essential role of her mentors, family, friends, colleagues and residents in her career. Further, she pointed out that the practice of team sports is very important in order to appreciate the feeling to be part of a team and the essential role of working hard in order to achieve a goal. Finally, she provided important tips derived from her experience, emphasising the need to work with purpose and to appreciate all the positive sides of all the experiences that one has in life, always trying to move forward.
Prof. Nathalie Nasr, Professor of Neurology at the University of Toulouse (France), started her presentation by reporting the important steps of her professional career. She moved from Lebanon to France for her medical studies, completed her training in neurology at the University of Toulouse and afterwards attended the University in Cambridge for her PhD and post-doctoral fellowship. The fields of interest of her research, clinical and teaching activities include stroke, neurosonology and autonomic system disorders. In her talk, she highlighted the need to have good role models, who may be also from other fields.
Through the stories of these three brilliant speakers, this session gave us important advice which may help us in our own careers in neurology. All the talks emphasised the importance of good mentors, international experiences and connections, as well as a good balance between private and working life.