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Tuesday, 18 February 2020

International Day of Women and Girls in Science at the ICN2

On February 10, an event organized by the ICN2 Equal Opportunities Committee was held at the ICN2 to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Dr Neus Domingo, CSIC Distinguished Researcher in the ICN2 Oxide Nanophysics Group, Dr Jörg Müller, sociologist at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) of the Open University of Catalonia, and Dr Digna Couso, PhD in Science Teaching and Director of the Research Centre for the Education in Science and Mathematics of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (CRECIM), led the discussion with very interesting talks.

On the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the ICN2 has held a special event to reflect upon the causes and consequences of the lack of women in STEM-related careers, especially in positions of responsibility, as well as the role that education since a very early stage can play in shaping identity, self-confidence and professional choices of young people.

The event was opened, in front of a packed seminar room, by Pol Guillaumes of the ICN2 Strategy Development Area. Then, the discussion kicked off with an introduction by the main promoter and organizer of this conference, Dr Neus Domingo, CSIC Distinguished Researcher in the ICN2 Oxide Nanophysics Group and chair of the ICN2 Equal Opportunities Committee, who presented the 100tífiques project. Promoted by the Fundació Catalana per la Recerca i la Innovació, el Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) and the Generalitat de Catalunya, this programme sponsors a series of activities organized in primary and secondary schools to bring science to children and teenagers, promote a real image of scientists and breaking stereotypes about them, and foster the interest of pupils in scientific topics.

The floor was then taken by sociologist Dr Jörg Müller, of the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) of the Open University of Catalonia, who provided a very interesting perspective on how stereotypes can be built in the methodology itself through which we create knowledge, which leads to the need of raising awareness about bias and taking into account the gender dimension. He also discussed the impact of gender diversity in working teams.

Following on stage was physicist Dr Digna Couso, PhD in Science Teaching and director of CRECIM, who presented clearly how stereotypes about STEM professions and gender roles affect strongly the relationship of students with science. Drawing on many gender studies, Dr Couso explained how gender identity and self-perception are shaped by culture and experience and how attitude towards science in strongly influenced by these aspects. Indeed, besides the high proficiency of young female in all science disciplines, the number of students choosing scientific studies at the University and then a scientific career is significantly lower than the male colleagues. She also highlighted that the current stereotypical image of the scientist is very narrow, so very few young people can relate with it. Science should be freed up from these prejudices and should be normalized, because, as Dr Couso stressed, we need diversity (in terms of gender, socioeconomic level, ethnicity, profession, etc.) in STEM, as well as higher common literacy in science.

A round table took place after these excellent talks, with high participation of the audience, who could interchange opinions on the discussed topics and share their experience. The event was wrapped up with a ceremony to confer awards assigned by the ICN2 to young female researchers within the framework of the ICN2 Severo Ochoa Women Talent Programme. Dr Ceren Çamur received the Best PhD Thesis Award 2018-2019; Dr Maria del Rocio Rodríguez-Laguna and Dr Kumara Cordero-Edwards were assigned each the Best PhD Paper Award 2018-2019; finally, Dr Juliana Jaramillo was conferred the Best Postdoc Paper Award 2018-2019. These recognitions, with are accompanied by a monetary prize, are meant to give visibility and highlight high quality research in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology carried out by outstanding women.

 

References:

Ceren Çamur, Advances on the Synthesis of MOFs at Scale, PhD thesis in Material Science; Supervisors: Prof. Daniel Maspoch and Dr Inhar Imaz.

Maria del Rocio Rodríguez-Laguna, Pedro Gómez-Romero, Clivia M. Sotomayor Torres and Emigdio Chavez-Angel1, Modification of the Raman Spectra in Graphene-Based Nanofluids and its Correlation with Thermal Properties; Nanomaterials 2019 May; 9(5): 804. DOI: 10.3390/nano9050804

Kumara Cordero-Edwards, Hoda Kianirad, Carlota Canalias, Jordi Sort, and Gustau Catalan, Flexoelectric Fracture-Ratchet Effect in Ferroelectrics, Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 135502; April 2019. DOI: 10.1103/physrevlett.122.135502

Juliana Jaramillo-Fernandez, Guy L. Whitworth, Jose Angel Pariente, Alvaro Blanco, Pedro D. Garcia, Cefe Lopez and Clivia M. Sotomayor‐Torres, A Self-Assembled 2D Thermofunctional Material for Radiative Cooling, Volume15, Issue52, December 27, 2019, 1905290. DOI: 10.1002/smll.201905290