February 11th: an unceasing commitment to equality

Poster of February 11th, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Design: Inés Bonet (IAC)
Advertised on

Again this year the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) is showing its commitment to gender equality by organizing a large number of activities around February 11th, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The main aim of this day, which was declares by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2015 is: ‘to recognize the important role that women and girls play in science and technology’

In recent years the number of women in science and technology carrees has increased significnatly. In 2017 there were six countries with more women scientists and engineers than men, according to the report She Figures 2018. Among those with the greatest difference were Norway and Lithuania with respectively 6.7% and 4% of women working in these fields, compared to 5.7% and 3.1% for men. Even so the figures still show a considerable gender gap: data from the Institute of Statistics of UNESCO (UIS) show that women are only 30% of the global total of reseachers, with even lower proportions in posts of higher responsability or grade.

To celebrate the day, at the IAC headquarters in La Laguna women at the Institute, coordinated by the astrophysicist Olga Zamora have organized a special seminar for the personnel. It has the title Lightning talks 11F. The seminar will last approximately one hour and can be followed live on the IACTalks channel.

It will start around 12:30h and will be made up of one or two minute talks by each of the participants outlining their work in the different areas: administration, research, teachiong, instrumentation, and outreach.

Activities in educational centres

The IAC works to promote the equitable participation of girls and women in Science. In order to make the work of professionals in the field of Astrophysics visible and to foster career perspectives among the new generations, it willl offer inspiring models, thanks to projects such as Talk to them: Women in Astronomy coordinated by astrophysicist and outreach specialist Nayra Rodríguez Eugenio. Students in Spanish schools will be able to talk via videoconference to 20 women astrophysicists and engineers, who are participating in the project on a voluntary basis, both IAC staff and staff from other institutions present at the Canary Islands Observatories (CTA, TNG, OU) and collaborators. Schools can register by filling this form and agree on a date for the activity, between 11 February and the end of June.

There will also be a second edition of Canary Women Scientists in which the students of 70 colleges and public institutions will be able to get close scientific and technological research via the viewpoint of women who are working in research centres in the Canary Islands, among them IAC researchers. This project will be complemented by visits of some of the participating specialists to educational centres to promote and favour equality and scientific vocations. This set of exhibitions arises from the collaboration between the Government of the Canaries, via the Department of Education and Universities (CEU), and the Area of Scientific Vocations and Creativity (STEAM), the General Direction of Ordenation, Innovation, and Quality, the Canary Foundation Observatory of Temisas and INVESPA (The association of researchers of Las Palmas).

There will be other talks and workshops for students organized by other initiatives, such as that of the plataforma 11defebrero.org and "Science in portions" of the University of La Laguna.

For the general public

Fort he fourth consecutive year the Canary Foundation Observatory of Temisas, with the patronage of INVESPA, the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), and the University of La Laguna (ULL), is organizing the Women and Science Cycle in which women scientists from the Canary archipelago will give a series of lectures to bring women researchers to our notice. These colloquia qill take palce throughout the months of February and March.

The third edition of Chat with a woman astronomer will take place on February 20th between 9 in the morning and 9 at night (Canary time). Thanks to the Commission for Women in Astronomy of the Spanish Astronomical Society (SEA) professional Spanish and foreign women astronomers will be on line to comment on their experiences as women scientists, and on their research. You can chat with them via the following link https://app.purechat.com/w/11FMujerYAstro .

On February 11th the IAC will publish the fifth chapter of the audiovisual series Girls who broke a glass roof looking at the sky inspired by the project ‘No Nancies’ by the astrophysicist Pilar Montañés. The aim of this initiative is to motivate the youngest girls to study science and technology (STEM) and to publicize the work of the women astrophysicists and engineers of the IAC.

IAC personnel who are participating in the above mentioned activities:

  • Talks, workshops, videoconferences and chat: Adriana de Lorenzo-Cáceres, Alicia López Oramas, Ana Esteban Gutiérrez, Antonia María Varela, Arianna di Cinto, Begoña García Lorenzo, Carmen P. Padilla-Torres, Josefa Becerra González, Icíar Montilla, Laura Sánchez Menguiano, Lucía González Cuesta, Mary Barreto, Montserrat Armas Padilla, Nayra Rodríguez Eugenio, Núria Casasayas Barris, Núria Salvador Rusiñol, Patricia Chinchilla Gallego, Patricia Fernández Izquierdo, Paz Alonso Arias, Sandra Benítez Herrera, Sara González Pérez and Virginia Cúneo.
  • Special seminar 11F: Casiana Muñoz Tuñón, Alejandra Martín, Dahimar Sánchez, María José González, Sonia Fumero, Rocío Álvaro, Delia García, Carmen García de Sola Candelaria, Monique Gomez, Olivia Hernández, Raquel Dorta, Ana Esteban, Karla Arellano, Guayente Panizo, Carme Gallart, Arianna di Cintio, Carmen del Puerto, Nayra RodrÍguez, Sandra BenÍtez, Natalia Arteaga, Sara González, Alba Eva Peláez, Estrella Zatón, Susana Delgado, Mary Barreto, Icíar Montilla, Rebeca Galera and Olga Zamora.
Related projects
Poster of the activity "Habla con ellas: Mujeres en Astronomía"
Talk to Them: Women in Astronomy
What is it? It is an IAC initiative that aims to make visible the work of women in Astronomy-Astrophysics, while offering girls inspiring models to promote their scientific and technological vocations. It consists of videoconferences with educational centres by women astrophysicists and engineers who work at the IAC and at other institutions
Rodríguez Eugenio