Last Thursday the #100tífiques meet-up took place at the Barcelona City Council’s Saló de Cent, inaugurating the fifth edition of this initiative, which is organised by the Fundació Catalana per a la Recerca i la Innovació (FCRI) and the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST), with the collaboration of the Generalitat de Catalunya’s Departments of Education, and of Research and Universities.
The #100tífiques initiative aims to highlight the contribution of women in the various fields of science and technology, and to provide young people between the ages of 11 and 13 with real role models who inspire a vocation for science.
This year the #100tífiques initiative will mobilise 567 women from the public and private sectors, who will give talks—online or in-person—on the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 10), in 500 schools and institutes across 41 Catalan counties. The event on February 2 provided a space for the participating scientists to meet, reflect, and discuss, as well as for a public recognition of their contributions to the advancement of science and innovation.
This recognition was emphasised at the event by the presence of the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, the Catalan Minister for Research and Universities and President of the FCRI, Joaquim Nadal, the Catalan Ministry of Education, Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray, the Catalan Minister for Equality and Feminism, Tània Verge, the Sixth Deputy Mayor of the Barcelona City Council, Jordi Martí, and the BIST President, Andreu Mas-Colell. All the authorities highlighted the importance of role models.
“Role models are important, at all levels, in all sectors, but especially in the areas of greater visibility and responsibility“, said the Mayor of Barcelona. The Minister for Equality and Feminism reminded all attendees that reference persons in politics, science and all areas, have a big impact in how we understand the reality.
The event programme was also designed to emphasise the importance of providing girls and young women with role models to aspire to. The lecture by Liat Ben David, CEO of the Davidson Institute of Science Education in Israel—the educational arm of the prestigious Weizmann Institute of Science— demonstrated the added societal impact that researchers have when leave their “ivory towers”. “Science is one of the greatest achievements of Homo sapiens and should be therefore a cultural asset for all“, Ben David stated.
The event also included talks by Teresa Tarragó, CEO of the biotech company Exheus, and Elvan Böke, senior researcher at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), who explained their experiences as women leaders in scientific environments. Tarragó and Böke are part of a minority of women—the latest statistics show no more than 24% in public centres in Catalonia—who lead in scientific environments. The #100tífiques meet-up also aims to encourage women researchers to not give up on leading in a highly competitive environment, and even to transform the scientific environment from positions of leadership.
The conductor of the event, BIST director of programmes Núria Bayó Puxan, highlighted that when women lead scientific research, changes also occur in research topic focus. “In 2019, there were almost six times more publications on male erectile dysfunction than on all of female infertility“, explained Böke, who leads research on the biology of female germ cells.
In the last of the presentations, coach Alicia Marín Muniesa shared tools the participants could use to improve their positioning in their work environments, reinforcing the strength of a community of women in science. The event also included the now traditional photo of the “#100tífiques” and authorities.
Since the “#100tífiques” initiative was first launched five years ago with the participation of 101 women scientists and 103 schools in 2019, it has not stopped growing. This year it can already be considered a national initiative, mobilising more than half of a thousand science professionals (female researchers, technologists, engineers, innovation managers, entrepreneurs, directors, etc.), and schools and institutes in 41 counties. Of the total number of participants in 2023, 72% come from public research organisations, including the eight public universities and a large majority from CERCA and CSIC centres. Of particular note are the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), and the University of Barcelona, with more than 20 women scientists each, and companies such as HP, Boehringer Ingelheim, Provital Group, Grupo Menarini, Alcon, BASF, B. Braun, Aguas de Barcelona, Lubrizol, Allianz, Eurecat, and Werfen, whose participants make up 28% of the total number of researchers taking part in the initiative.
All the event speaches can be visualized here. [Most of the event was conduced in Catalan, with the talks by Liat Ben David (min 54) and Elvan Böke (1:40) in English]
Enllaç a la nota de premsa (Català)See more pictures of the event