Simone Kodlulovich Renha, PhD, FIOMP

My parents always respected my choices, but when I decided to study physics at university, they were very concerned. How could I have a job that gives me financial independence? Well, at that time I was not thinking about that problem. I just wanted to discover the mysteries of the universe. I know, I was pretty pretentious, but what teenager is not? I liked the university a lot, but it was not enough for me.

Married with two children, I started my master’s degree. It was really challenging as a young mother, living in a different state than I grew up and without parental support. Like all professional mothers I had to face difficult days, having to deal with typical children’s illnesses and at the same time continue to work hard in the laboratory in order to complete my research. When I finished my master’s, I immediately started my doctorate. It was the best decision, as I do not know if it would be possible to do it later.

For a few years I was a teacher at a school, but I knew that was not my destiny. Then, finally, I had the opportunity to join the National Nuclear Energy Commission. There, I had many opportunities to continue doing research and many other challenging activities. I was able to meet and work with professionals from large international organizations from whom I always learned a lot. In that sense, participating as a specialist in IAEA and PAHO missions was a privilege for me. In 2010, I was elected president of the Latin American Society of Medical Physics. It was a great experience that I could continue after be re-elected again for a new term. In 2018 I was elected president of the Radiation Protection Federation of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Unfortunately, although the professional situation of women scientists has improved, we still face discrimination. We can observe some measures taken by many organizations to guarantee a minimum number of women in institutions, in parliamentary committees, in scientific committees, among others. Clearly this should not be necessary these days, but unfortunately for now it is still a required safeguard. Increasing the number of women medical physicists must be a goal, stimulating children’s interest in science, opening up opportunities for the girls to show their talent and some other proactive actions must be done by us, who have already achieved our professional status. Therefore, it is important for various women professional groups within medical sciences to promote and to discuss actions for the women rights in science.

IOMP has given me great opportunities and I am very grateful for that. And I wish for all female medical physicists to have similar opportunities. My IOMP work started with my participation in the Education and Training Committee, after that, in the periods of 2016-2018 and 2018-2021, I was honored to chair the Awards and Honours Committee. Now, this year, I received another gratifying honor being elected as chair of Professional Relation Committee. I am sure that it will not be easy but I am committed and enthusiastic to dedicate myself to the maximum to respect the trust that the IOMP members placed in me.

Thank you for this opportunity and I would like to congratulate all women, that despite all barriers, are changing the world!