Women in science: Anna Stygar


On 11 February, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. To celebrate this Day, from ClearFarm we would like to share the experiences of women involved in the project.

Today, to know the situation for women working in science within Europe, we asked Anna Stygar, researcher at Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), about her experience:

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Anna, and I am a research scientist working in Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). I was born in a small village in the south of Poland, however currently I’m leaving in Helsinki, together with my husband (also researcher) and two wonderful sons (4-year-old Jan and 2-year-old Henrik). Regarding free time activities, I am a member in a small sauna club, where we are exploring different public sauna facilities and drinking some beer.    

As a female researcher, what has been your biggest challenge up until now?

I think the biggest challenge so far was to find the right balance between work and family life. The fear is how to keep up with all the meetings and deadlines when not all nights will be slept through due to a teething toddler, or how the longer career break (due to maternity leave) will influence my prospects in science.     

How did you overcome these challenges?

I think, the challenges were easily overcome, with the understanding partner and supportive colleagues. In my case it helps that my husband is also a researcher, so we understand the character of our work quite well and easily can support each other during more intensive periods.  

What is your role in the ClearFarm project?

I am working with various interdisciplinary topics dealing with the health and welfare problems of food producing animals. In the ClearFarm project, I am coordinating pilot studies carried out in two commercial farms in Finland. Moreover, I am active in defining market constraints (e.g. technological) for animal-welfare based products. I am also responsible for economic sustainability assessment of pig and dairy production chain.  

Briefly, what excites you about your work?

Harmonization of animal welfare labelling is widely discussed at the EU-level. Therefore, there is a high chance that solutions developed within the ClearFarm consortium can be used in the future by the producers and consumers all around Europe. I am excited to participate in this discussion, and I hope that our work will contribute to improving the health and welfare of animals.