More than half a thousand women researchers gave talks about their work in science and technology to more than 40,000 school children at the 2023 #100tífiques event last Friday
The 2023 #100tífiques event took place last Friday, February 10, bringing 573 women researchers from public and private institutes into 505 Catalan schools to give simultaneous talks at 11:00am to some 40,000 students aged 11 to 13. The aim of the event is to promote scientific and technical vocations among children and to create a community of shared interests between scientists from academia and from the business sector. The activity 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’s Departments of Education, and Research and Universities. The event is part of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11 (#100tífiques was moved to February 10 this year as February 11 is a Saturday).
In addition to the simultaneous talks, a central event was held in the Auditorium Cappont of the University of Lleida. The event consisted of a series of talks focussing on women astronauts. The speakers were Neus Sabaté, ICREA principal researcher at the Barcelona Microelectronics Institute (IMB-CNM-CSIC) and crew member of the simulated mission to Mars Hypatia I, the mission of 9 Catalan scientists who will conduct research on a space station in the Utah desert, an enclave that mimics a human settlement on the red planet; Beatriz Iribarren, head of Quality, Safety and Environment at the MELISSA Pilot plant, a laboratory of the European Space Agency (ESA) located at the Autonomous University of Barcelona that develops a life support system for long-duration manned human missions; and finally Rosa Gil, associate professor of Informatics and Industrial Engineering at the University of Lleida, who explained how ethical, gender or cultural aspects have a lot to say when we design the interaction of astronauts in space. Some 300 students from the Joan Oró Institute attended this in-person event, which was also live-streamed so schools not hosting an in-person #100tífiques talk could join (watch the recording here).
The 2023 #100tífiques echoed in the media as seen in these examples:
- Els Matins de TV3 – Interview to Ainoa Tejedera, a PhD student from the IBEC that went to a school in Badalona
- El País – Newspiece about the talk Giulia Lo Gerfo, from ICFO, gave to a school from the Raval
- La Vanguardia – Article about the #100tífiques event
Creating role models to break down gender stereotypes
There is a lack of strong women role models in science, stereotypes that lead fewer girls to pursue technical careers, and hostile, hierarchical, and male-driven scientific environments. The causes of the gender gap in science are multiple and complex. Three years ago, UNESCO’s report “Cracking the code: girls’ and women’s education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)” highlighted an internationally recognised and accepted fact: only 28% of the world’s scientific researchers and 35% of students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers are women.
A study published in the journal Science in 2017 marked a turning point in international awareness of the problem. This landmark work showed that gender stereotypes related to science began as early as age six.
#100tífiques was born five years ago to give visibility to the strategic role women in public and private research positions play in Catalonia, as well as fostering connections and collaborations among this community, and promoting STEM vocations with an inclusive gender perspective. Made up of women researchers, technologists, engineers, innovation managers, entrepreneurs, and managers, the #100tífiques community has grown from 101 women scientists and 103 schools in its first edition (2019) to more than half a thousand science professionals across 41 counties.