The Global Women's Breakfast (GWB), initiated by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), has been a grant annual event in the global chemistry society and beyond. 2023 Global Women's Breakfast (GWB) takes "Breaking Barriers in Science" as the annual theme, which at the same time, serves as a flagship event of the “International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development" (IYBSSD, July 2022-June 2023) announced by the United Nations to honor the importance of basic science in promoting sustainable development. A total of 75 countries around the world altogether held more than 400 sessions of GWB. Taiwan's GWB, co-organized by the Aerosol Science Research Center (ASRC) of National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) and the Chemical Society Located in Taipei (CSLT) was grandly held at NSYSU on February 14th. This GWB meeting focused on discussing the key roles of feminine characteristics in promoting sustainable development and inner development. Group discussions were also carried out to encourage cross-generation dialogues to establish mentor-mentee relationship and to cultivate the inner development goals (IDGs) to promote UNs’ 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The event was kicked off with the opening speeches delivered by NSYSU President, Professor Ying-Yao Cheng, and co-chair of the IUPAC GWB Series, Professor Mary Garson. Professor Mei-Hung Chiu, the awardee of the IUPAC Distinguished Women in Chemistry and Emeritus Professor of the Graduate Institute of Science Education, National Taiwan Normal University, first spoke on the importance of basic science in promoting sustainable development. Professor Chia C. Wang, associate professor in department of chemistry and the director of the NSYSU Aerosol Science Research Center, who organized this GWB event, shared the key roles of feminine characteristics in promoting sustainable development goals (SDGs) and inner development goals (IDGs). Additionally, from the basis of quantum mechanics of the five senses, she led the participants to understand how the body and the environment interact on the microscopic energetic levels. Chia C. Wang pointed out that we are so used to work and live in our immediate fields, thereby setting up many invisible barriers unconsciously. These preset barriers often make us forget our close connection with each other and with the Mother Earth. Under the nourishment and cultivation of Mother Earth, all living sentient beings and inanimate on Earth belong to one entity as a whole. Therefore, this event has been designed to lead the participants to "cross" various preset barriers, including the barriers between science and art, as well as the barriers between multi-disciplinary fields, industry, generations, and genders. In the event, a meditation activity along with live music performance was designed to lead the participants to cross the barriers between body and environment.
Dr. Chao-Ping Hsu, a Research Fellow at the Institute of Chemistry, Academia Sinica, pointed out that even though the barriers for female students' to receive higher education have been reduced over time, the "leaky pipeline" phenomenon remains pronounced, meaning that the higher the job position, the lower the percentages of female participation. The problems and difficulties that female scientists need to face still exist a large gender gap at different stages of their career development as compared to the male scientists as a result of the different expectations of different genders from the society. Therefore, this year Taiwan’s GWB has launched the "Chia-Li Wu Female Chemist Career Development Award Project", and planned a group discussion of cross-generation mentor-mentee dialogues in the agenda, with a goal to promote gender equity in the academic community.
At the beginning of this event, a unique activity was led by Professor I-Lien Ho, the Assistant Professor of NSYSU Department of Theater Arts, and accompanied by the live music performance of DaKung, a well-known musician shortlisted for the 31st Golden Melody Awards, allowing participants to listen to the inner voices of themselves and the various sounds of Mother Earth surrounding us while residing between mountains and seas, re-establishing the connection with nature, and crossing the boundaries of science, art, and humanities. This event also invited Gabriella Grusell from Sweden, a representative of the internationally renowned non-governmental organization (NGO) Inner Development Goals, to give a speech entitled “Sustainability from the Inside Out-Inner Development Enabling the SDGs”, during which she talked about why the promotion of sustainable development should begin with everyone's inner transformation. This event also invited Wenying Chang, a senior researcher of Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC), as a representative of senior female leaders in the industry, to share the role of women in promoting sustainable development in the workplace. Professor Yi-Hsin Liu, an associate professor of the Department of Chemistry at National Taiwan Normal University, shared his practical experience of communication and networking for cross-field cooperation. Yi-Hsin Liu also shared the essence and know-how of cooperation with the Eightfold Path taught in Buddhism and the Four Embracing Virtues, including generosity, kind words, beneficial deeds, and fellowship.
The event also conducted a questionnaire survey on the participants, which shows that personality traits such as empathy, communication and coordination skills, cooperation, openness to new things or ideas, tolerance, humility, kindness, friendliness, patience, and carefulness are expected to play key roles in promoting sustainable development and inner development. Chia C. Wang also pointed out that although some of these traits have often been classified as femininity in the past, nevertheless, every individual, regardless female or male, has both feminine and masculine traits, just in different proportions. Everyone might as well break away from the traditional stereotype of a binary distinction between masculinity and femininity, and embrace these inner characteristics that can promote the sustainability of the Earth and the symbiosis and co-prosperity of all life and all inanimate things on Earth, allowing them be fully manifested.