ORIGINS OF THE GLOBAL BREAKFAST
On the morning of 18 January 2011, women chemists from 44 countries leapt out of bed with purpose and shared breakfast together. They were taking part in the international networking event “Women Sharing a Chemical Moment in Time,” a “prequel” to the official launch of the International Year of Chemistry (IYC2011) in Paris on 27–28 January. Worldwide there were close to 100 breakfasts, involving roughly 5000 women chemists, making it one of the largest gatherings of women scientists worldwide. A number of countries held multiple breakfasts; in Australia there were 9, while in both the UK and the Netherlands, there were at least 10 different functions.
Since an aim of IYC2011 was for chemists to “connect” as well as “participate,” the event organizers encouraged different breakfasts to interact with each other using video chat or Skype. In this way, participants created a chemical “handshake” around the globe, in the same way that a wave travels around a sports stadium. The chemical handshake “relay” was then passed across to Russia, and into Europe and Africa. In Johannesburg, the South African Chemical Institute hosted a breakfast attended by IUPAC President Nicole Moreau (France) and ACS President Nancy Jackson. The event was particularly well supported in the Netherlands and in the UK; both countries hosted at least 10 different events, and a video link between the Beijing event and the main RSC event in London nicely joined Asia to Europe. The handshake then continued into Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, and Colombia. North American breakfasts made links across the Pacific to Hawaii, which contacted Wellington in New Zealand across the International Dateline, thus completing the 24-hour global circuit.
THE GLOBAL BREAKFAST RETURNS
On 12 February 2019, as part of the celebrations for the centenary of the founding of IUPAC, women chemists and male supporters from over 50 different countries took part in the second IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast: Empowering Women in Chemistry, A Global Networking Event. Worldwide there were 200 breakfasts, with between five and ten thousand participants involved. A global breakfast map was created which illustrated the location of each registered breakfast. The first events were held at 7AM local time in New Zealand, with Wellington and Palmerston sharing the honour of initiating the breakfast events. In her role as global co-convenor, Mary Garson skyped the Wellington breakfast from her Brisbane base to acknowledge their significant role. Breakfast events next launched successively in Asia, Europe, into Africa, then across to both North and South America. The final breakfast was launched in Hawaii 22 hours later. This global event provided an excellent opportunity to focus on these achievements, to expand professional networks, to learn from each other, and to raise awareness of the challenges women scientists face in academic, industry and government institutions. Since 2019, the IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast has become an annual event.
Garson, Mary J., McConnell, Laura L. and Soby, Lynn M.. “Diversity in Science at the Global Women’s Breakfast Network” Chemistry International, vol. 43, no. 3, 2021, pp. 8-11. https://doi.org/10.1515/ci-2021-0303
Garson, Mary and McConnell, Laura. “The IUPAC100 Global Women’s Breakfast Empowering Women in Chemistry” Chemistry International, vol. 42, no. 1, 2020, pp. 22-25. https://doi.org/10.1515/ci-2020-0107
Kerton, Francesca M. “Behind the Scenes: Stories of the Global Women’s Breakfast”, vol. 44, no. 4, 2022, pp. 18-25. https://doi.org/10.1515/ci-2022-0404
Event Contact Info: [email protected]
We thank the members of the IUPAC Global Breakfast Project Task Group. If you are looking for a connection in your region, please reach out to these representatives:
Prof. Mary Garson, Queensland University, Australia.
Prof. Mohammed Shoeb, University Dhaka, Bangladesh
AFRICA and MIDDLE EAST
CENTRAL and SOUTH AMERICA
Prof. Cristina Delerue-Matos, REQUIMTE/LAQV, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto, Portugal