The University of Valencia hosted a week of activities to make visible women and girls in science

Female researchers of the University of Valencia.
Female researchers of the University of Valencia.

The University of Valencia hosted the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, on February 11, a week of events in various areas of the institution.

The activities programmed during the cycle Women and Science in the Botanical Garden between February Tuesday 12 and Friday 15 were themed around the visibility of past and present female scientists, and promote access to scientific and technical areas of women and girls.

The cycle ended on Friday with the scientific theatre show Scientific women: Past, present and future, aimed at children between 8 and 14 years old and where five University of Seville female researchers gave life to five past female researchers to invite the viewer to be part of the world of science. The session took place at the Joan Plaça Auditorium, at 11 am (school session) and at 6 pm (family session, free admission). 


Talks at different secondary schools

In addition, during this week from February 11 to 15, and within the SWI@València project, students of the University give talks at different secondary schools. The students who will give the talks, and who are studying in the faculties of Biology and Pharmacy are: Paula Galarza, Miriam Meléndez, Cintya González, Paula Chuliá, Sara Borràs, Lora Stefanova, Belén Arnau and Claudia Soriano.


Faculty of Physics

On the other hand, in the Sala Lise Meitner of the faculty of Physics, on Thursday 14 at 12.30 pm there was a screening of the documentary ¿Dónde están las mujeres? ('Where are the women?'), produced by the Centre for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona and dealing with the scarce presence of women in positions of responsibility in science.

At the faculty, from February 4 and until February 11 the mural-collage Find Female Scientists in Physics was visited before the Centre’s Secretariat, which encouraged students and professors to find and make visible female scientists.


At the Botanical Garden

On Thursday, the round table “Taking advantage of all the talent. Policies of Equality and Science” (at the Joan Plaça Auditorium, at 7pm) brought together active scientists with political and university leaders to focus on how to address the gender gap in science. Journalist Pilar Almenar was in charge of moderating the table, where Elena Martínez, vice chancellor of Equality, Diversity and Sustainability of the University of Valencia participated; Josefina Bueno, general director of University, Research and Science; Eva Barreno, botanist and researcher; Mariam Tórtola, physicist and researcher, and Teresa Samper-Gras, sociologist and researcher.

To this end, during Tuesday and Wednesday a series of lectures were given by experts in botany, genetics, physics and astronomy, starting at 7 pm in the Sala Hort de Tramoieres.

On Wednesday there was a lecture given by the biologist Olga Mayoral (“From field botany to science teaching”) and another one by the researcher Rosa de Porcel of the Institute of Conservation and Improvement of the Valencian Agro-diversity (“¿"Natural" food?)”).

On Tuesday, at the cycle Women and Science at the Botanical Garden the lectures were given by the biologist Olga Mayoral (“From field botany to science teaching”) and by the researcher Rosa de Porcel of the Institute of Conservation and Improvement of the Valencian Agro-diversity (“¿"Natural" food?”).


Report “Female Scientists in figures 2017”

The rector of the University, Mª Vicenta Mestre, has participated in Madrid in the events organised by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities on the occasion of this date and that was jointly organised by the Women and Science Unit of the Ministry and the Spanish Federation for Science and Technology (FECYT). The Secretary of State for Universities, Research, Development and Innovation, Ángeles Heras, presented the report 'Scientists in figures 2017' that analyses the presence of women in the different fields and level of science in Spain, with special attention to the research career in universities and public research organisations.

According to this report, the presence of women remains scarce in the highest rank category (grade A) in the research career, while there is gender balance in the other research categories (grades B, C and D). On the other hand, in the process of accreditation to chairs, the success rates of women (47%) and men (48%) are practically the same.

The acts in the Ministry of Science were completed with two round tables: “The research career of women in science and engineering” and “Initiatives to promote STEM vocations or to promote the equality and visibility of female scientists and technologists”.


II Conference of Women in Neuroscience

In addition, from 12pm, and at the II Conference of Women in Neuroscience took place the Lectures Neuroscience for all, which were held simultaneously in the Darwin Room of the Faculty of Pharmacy and the Aula Magna of the Faculty of Medicine. The neuroscientists who have given the lectures were María Abellán, Sandra Fernández, Carmen Agustín, Carla Sanchis, Marta Torrens, Alicia González, Raquel García, Ana Lloret and Anna Carballo.

In the afternoon, in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry took place the session “The visibility of women in science education”, which was inaugurated by the rector of the University, Mª Vicenta Mestre. The rector recalled the importance of making women visible in science, “and this also implies making co-responsibility policies so that researchers can continue their professional progression when they voluntarily decide to be mothers”.

This part of the II Women in Neuroscience Conference consisted of a conference by Tayra Lanuza (“Myths, heroines and falsehoods: the risks of repeating old mistakes in vindicating the role of women in the History of Science”) and a round table with Anna Carballo, Rafael Crespo, Ana Lluch and Tayra Lanuza, moderated by Rocío García. At 18:45 there was the presentation of the travelling exhibition “Creators: Women in Science” and finally, at 7 pm, the Women in Science contest prizeswere awarded.


Masterclass of the IFIC

For the same Monday 11, the Institute of Corpuscular Physics (IFIC) scheduled a masterclass where 75 Baccalaureate students from twenty-five Valencian schools went the Faculty of Physics to do, guided by female researchers of the Institute, a practice with real data. In the afternoon and from the Science Park, they connected by videoconference to share the results with other female students who will have done the same exercise in Santiago de Compostela, Barcelona, London and Heidelberg. In addition, the researcher Mariam Tórtola and Ana Peñuelas, doctoral student, gave talks in educational centres throughout the Community.


Communication of the CRUE

On the occasion of this international day, the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) highlighted in a statement that “full participation of women in all scientific fields is indispensable for the full development of a country and, for this, every quality education system must promote the elimination of obstacles that make balance between women and men difficult”.

“Breaking stereotypes and gender roles in the earliest stages of education is essential in order not to condition the decisions that university futures will have to take. And this is where the university community must be proactive. More girls and women in science will give us more solid, more creative and more efficient solutions to the whole society. It is the University’s obligation”, the CRUE asserted.


11th Databeers VLC

In a more relaxed atmosphere, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània Octubre held this Thursday afternoon the 11th Databeers, where data science and beer coexisted in the same space. The event, organised by the Technical School of Engineering of the University of Valencia (ETSE-UV) together with the Databeers group and the CCC Octubre, dealt with data science with different expert talks in a relaxed and fun way. Participants were Pilar Domingo-Calap (I2SysBio), Rosa Arroyo (Casfid), Anabel Forte (Department of Statistics and Operational Research of the University) and Silvia Rueda (IT Department of the ETSE-UV).

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