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for both men and women in the

same environment.

All my life, everything that I have

done, to succeed, I had to be better

than the man next door, the man in

the office, or the man who was

competing. You always had to be

better. This was beaten into me. I

come from a medical family in

Ireland. In medical school, it was

always that the women must be

better. It’s crazy. You can’t be just as

good. You have to be better.


But why this lack of

confidence in so many young, female

scientists? You are at a point in your

career where you should feel

confident with all of your successes.

What can we do to help these ladies

feel more confident in what they do?


Well, it’s mentoring and

opportunities. With mentoring, they

need to find someone in the

institution or the industry where

they’re working. It doesn’t have to

be a woman, but it has to be an

open minded person who will tell

them the truth, the good things and

the bad things they are doing, and

steer them.

The opportunities: the opportunities

to speak, to publish, to go to

meetings, things like that. This is not

always obvious. Men always put

their hand up and say they’ll go.

Women think, oh, I have a baby at

home, I have to do this, my husband

might be away. There are a lot more

considerations, and they are less

egocentric than the man sometimes.

So I think it’s opportunities and

mentoring that are very, very

important for women.


sisterhood and supporting each

other is important. I think it’s also

recognition by men. Every time I’m

asked to suggest a name for

something, I say to myself, ok think

of one man and think of one woman.

I make myself decide to pick a man

and a woman always. I very rarely

suggest men or women only. It’s

conscious effort because I have to

make myself do this. Instinctively

sometimes I just say the man’s


You have to be the type-2 decision

making that I was talking about in

my slide. You have to think rationally,

strategically, ask for advice, and it’s

harder. Most people, when they are

asked to quickly name who should

go? Who should do this? You think,

the guy I like best: I had a beer with

him last night or I play golf with him

or he likes the Red Sox. He shares my

football or my passion in sports. This

kind of thing.

Another very silly thing, but it’s a tip

for the women is to learn about the

football or sport in the country that

they are in. There’s a book called

hardball for women, and it’s all

about learning about baseball. I

went to America, and I didn’t know

anything about American sports. I

didn’t like football or ice hockey, but

baseball seemed like cricket because

I’m from Ireland. In England, they

play a lot of cricket. I like baseball. I

All my life, I had to be better

than the man next door, the

man in the office, or the man

who was competing

Prof. Clare Tempany


MICCAI Daily: Thursday