Repeat with me: Yes, I can be scientific

Few female references; lack of recognition; glass roof; Labor instability and many topics and preconceived ideas (self-imposed and / or inherited). Thes

Repeat with me: Yes, I can be scientific

Few female references; lack of recognition; glass roof; Labor instability and many topics and preconceived ideas (self-imposed and / or inherited). These are the main barriers that limit both income and the scientific career of women.

But there is an even greater obstacle: the lack of confidence on the abilities themselves to develop a professional trajectory in this area, which is why many renounce studying one of these careers or, if they do, they abandon halfway. "To be scientific, you have to believe it." So of course, the participants left him at the Women's Observatory and Science, organized by the world and I donated, with the collaboration of Sanofi, within the framework of the International Day of Women and the girl in science.

María Neira, Director of Public Health and Environmental and Social Determinants of WHO Health; Isabel alone, researcher and co-director of the Coronavirus group of the National Biotechnology Center; Elena Campos, a young researcher at the Center for Severe Ochoa Molecular Biology; And Anna Bergos, Medical Advisor of the area of clinical trials of Sanofi, shared his experiences as scientists, addressed the current situation of his profession and analyzed the reasons why many girls and young people are still reluctant to bet on science.

As presented in this forum, the female role in science is, above all, a question of attitude: "I am not aware of having been discriminated against gender, perhaps because I have been lucky, but also because I think you have to believe firmly That one is able to develop professionally, even if it is in a difficult field such as science. You have to end self-perception, very generalized, that it is in a different and limiting condition for being a woman, "said Isabel alone.

There is therefore a need to normalize the fact that a woman is dedicated to science, starting with the scientists' own: "It is the main barrier to removing, since there is still a tendency to think that if you dedicate yourself to science, you play In another league or that you are a little there by chance, "said María Neira.

For Isabel alone, there are two key moments in the access and permanence of women in this area in which we must focus all the strategies of change and improvement: "The first, decide to start a race of this branch, and the second , once the work world has been accessed, getting staying without giving up the promotion and promotion. "

To pave the way you have to start working from the base, "in schools and institutes, favoring that there are teachers / mentors who encourage girls who show interest and skills for science to continue working on this line," said Anna Bergos .

There were even family members who laughed at my intention to be scientific

The role of the environment is also determinant: "My family never transmitted me the message that I was going to meet with professional limitations for being a woman, and maybe that's why I made my way with total naturalness," Isabel alone said.

"In my case, my parents always supported me to dedicate myself to what I wanted, not my environment: there were even relatives who laughed at my intention to be scientific," Elena said. "And in the same way, at the Institute, many teachers tried to dissuade me with the argument that it was an extremely difficult race; some even described my intention of utopia or romantic idea. Interestingly, those who put more effort on it were teachers who in his moment they had tried to dedicate themselves to science and did not continue both by limitations and the dedication required by research work. "

At some point in that tour it usually "reactivates" what the experts identify as an extremely limiting saboteur: guilt. "I would invite scientists to investigate thoroughly if there is 'something' in the female genes that predispose us to always drag that terrible sense of guilt and that tendency to justify us and to be continually demonstrating our value," Mary Neira suggested.

"I also wonder if we have something in our brain that makes us afraid to undertake certain races, which we know that they are complicated, and to feel guilty when we finally chose that option. This is the cause that many girls abandon in the first courses for enroll on another branch. It is obvious that there is 'something' that justifies that trend and that it has a lot to do with that insecurity that we talked about and also with the lack of reinforcement messages by the environment, which encourages them not to throw away the Towel, "Isabel added alone.

I would invite scientists to investigate if there is 'something' in female genes that predispose us to drag that terrible feeling of guilt

The second turning point coincides with the entry into the work world, at which time the majority is found with one of the main problems that characterize the female scientific sphere at present: the scarce representation in positions of responsibility. "It is not understood, taking into account the great change that has occurred as to the female presence in the classrooms. For example, when I finished the medical career, more than 30 years ago, the number of girls was lower than 40 %, while at present 70% of the doctors who graduate are women, "said Anna Bergos.

The reasons? Again, that "something" invoked by scientists (guilt, insecurity ...), "but they also have a lot to see administrative barriers. For example, there are environments in which maternity is still associating with less productivity, An error since studies on labor absenteeism reflect that this is clearly superior in the case of men, "Bergos said.

At present, 70% of the doctors who graduate are women

Likewise, the fact that evaluators of labor capacities (human resources responsible and others) remain mainly men favors that male scientists are better positioned at the time of a promotion or promotion. In the opinion of Isabel alone, "Perhaps in public administration this is more regulated, since there is attempting to be parity in the Committees and Assessment Tribunals, precisely to balance these decisions, but it is necessary to incorporate the feminine vision into this field" .

But there is also a component of self-limiting on the part of women, as explained María Neira: "In the selection processes, especially at the time of the personal interview, I have seen many professionals with CV and bright trajectories were very unsafe, doubting his worth and without daring to manifest his abilities to direct and lead teams (another stereotype with which we have to end: the negative connotation that female ambition has) ".

From the perspective of private enterprise, Anna Bergos commented that in the case of Sanofi, the situation is very favorable: "In the last five years, 55% of the incorporations have been women. In addition, the Human Resources Department, the Directorate of the Spanish Headquarters and the Division of Clinical Trials are led by women, and 67% of the Steering Committee is feminine. Obviously this is not usual, but I think it can serve as an example for other companies, both private and from the public sector ".

Another very revealing data of the "female disadvantage" in science is that only 25% of professors and research teachers are women. According to Isabel alone, "today at the CSIC there are three times more teachers than research teachers, I want to think that, taking into account the age of these professionals (between 60-70 years), this is due a delay in incorporation Of the changes that have been experiencing in this regard. "

Today at the CSIC there are three times more teachers than research teachers

For Elena Fields, this disparity is also given in earlier stages, such as the direction of research projects, and was not optimistic about the improvements and initiatives carried out in this regard change the situation in the short term, "above all Taking into account that in recent years this inequality, rather than attenuated, has remained, when not increased. "

Both this labor reality and the scarce that these careers continue to have in the new generations (only 7% of children under 15 manifest interest in engaging in science) highlight the need to continue working on this line: "The Figures, spontaneously, are not going to become paralynt so, resorting to thermodynamics, we must apply more energy to change the system, "Isabel alone said.

For María Neira, you have to focus more the battles: "For example, ending the stereotype that the investigation has to be in the hands of men of a certain age, with white beard and glasses, always behind a microscope and dresses in black, And to start claiming the way of doing science in female. Our contribution is different, not methodologically, but in the sense that it is another type of creativity, innovation and intuition. You have to promote that differential element and put aside the tendency to think That we are not up to the height and adopt male modes, in search of a false sense of security. "

They all agreed that one of the priority challenges is to give more visibility to scientists and, in this sense, the irruption of the COVID-19 has been a huge opportunity: "He took the light of the number of women who are group leaders, His dedication and experience. And to which we are in this field have served us of encouragement to continue on this path, something that is not always easy, including other things, for labor instability, which is one of the causes for which A good number of researchers abandon, "said Elena Campos, an opinion shared by Isabel Sola:" All scientists, both men and women, we can thank the pandemic the visibility it has given us, making the company understand and put on our value. I work and favoring greater investment in science, which in turn, results in the greatest and best consolidation of women in this area. "

For María Neira, now you have to keep that focus that the pandemic has meant, and for that it is necessary "Glamorize" science, "that is, to make efforts to be more attractive and giving visibility to scientific work (it would be great to create a Specific social network to increase its impact and dissemination). This goes by opening the doors of the laboratories and research centers and demystifying the figure of these professionals, becoming referents for their enormous contribution to society. "

Date Of Update: 11 February 2022, 15:27

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