Women researchers and technologists come together to inspire future scientists

By February 4, 2022February 7th, 2022BIST, Media

• Nearly 200 women scientists met this morning in the University of Barcelona’s Auditorium – both in person and virtually – to discuss the role of women in science and the barriers that still need to be overcome to break down gender stereotypes.

• The Meet-up officially kicks off the 2022 edition of the #100tífiques programme, which is organised by the FCRI and BIST, and will bring 472 women scientists into 427 schools across Catalonia on February 11 to present their research.

• The Catalan Minister for Research and Universities and the Catalan Minister for Education attended the event, both stressing the key role that women scientists play in providing a transformative education for children and youth.

Barcelona, February 4, 2022. Nearly half of the 472 women researchers and technologists participating in the #100tífiques programme this year attended the #100tífiques Meet-up held in the University of Barcelona’s Auditorium today. The programme is organised by the Fundació Catalana per a la Recerca i la Innovació (FCRI) and the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST), in collaboration with the Catalan Government’s Department of Education, to bring women scientists into the education sector.

The #100tífiques initiative contributes to raising the proportion of women in Catalonia’s scientific talent pool to 50%, and simultaneously provides a space for women in the public and private research communities to interact, network, and collaborate, strengthening their leadership and professional careers“, said Susaina Figuera, Head of Innovation Projects at the FCRI. She pointed out that currently, the number of women scientists in leadership positions is only 20%, a situation that needs to be addressed.

Working to increase the visibility and recognition of women researchers is not just a question of gender equity and social justice. More women in scientific leadership positions will lead to richer and more diverse science, since different visions yield diverse results and respond better to society’s global challenges,” added Núria Bayó Puxan, Director of Programmes at BIST.

For this reason, #100tífiques aims not only to bring science to schools by organising research talks in schools throughout Catalonia on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11), but above all to create women role models that will inspire girls to take up STEM careers (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). In general, the programme aims to foster a greater awareness among citizens of how science contributes to society and of the role women have in this field.

Today’s Meet-up was an opportunity to review and discuss some of the barriers that continue to limit the recognition of women’s contributions to science, and the gender stereotypes that still persist. Professor Carme Junyent from the University of Barcelona, who gave a lecture entitled “Gender and language”, discussed the limitations of “inclusive” language, and how we need to remember what is really important, which is to transform reality. “The important thing is not how things are said, but who says them and who listens,” the professor told the scientists.

In the panel discussion moderated by journalist Núria Jar, UPC professor and president of the Catalan Society of Technology Núria Salan, and entrepreneur (Fibracat TV) and social activist Meritxell Bautista explained the difficulties women face in getting their work recognised in traditionally male-dominated environments. Five members of the Hypatia I mission crew (Carla Conejo, Ariadna Farrés, Laia Ribas, Núria Jar, and Anna Bach) also explained why they decided to launch an all-women expedition – made up of Catalan researchers and science communicators – at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah (USA).

The event opened with statements from University of Barcelona Rector Joan Garcia, BIST President Andreu Mas-Colell, Catalan Minister for Education Josep González-Cambray, and Catalan Minister for Research and Universities and President of the FCRI Gemma Geis, who all expressed that their institutions are committed to fostering women’s talent. The institutional representatives were especially impressed by the fact that the #100tífiques initiative brings women-led science into schools, which is where future scientific leaders will come from.

The #100tífiques programme has grown from 115 women researchers and 103 schools in its first edition in 2019 to more than 450 women scientists and technologists and more than 400 schools in its third (held exclusively online in 2021) and fourth editions. This growth has led to a five-fold multiplication of the programme’s social impact; In 2019, the #100tífiques talks reached 6,500 girls and boys, while in 2021 the audience exceeded 34,000 students from the 6th grade of primary school to 1st year of ESO, a figure that is expected to be equalled in this year’s edition.

Download full press release here (in Catalan).