This celebration was established December 22, 2015 by the UN General Assembly, in recognition “of the key role played by women in the scientific and technology community.” It aims to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, support women scientists, and promote women and girls’ access to education, training and research in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Leaving behind gender inequality in science is key to both enabling higher quality science and technology, achieving economic development, and making progress towards the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Gender inequality in science
Statistics indicate that globally the number of female researchers is barely 30%. Although parity has been achieved in many countries in the field of life sciences, their share among PhDs in engineering and computer science is only 28% and 40%, respectively. Women account for barely 22% of the professionals who worked in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). And it is precisely these fields that are driving the digital revolution and will account for a significant proportion of the jobs of the future.
In addition, women receive less research funding than men and are less likely to be promoted. And they remain in the minority in technical and managerial positions in technology companies.
Diversity in researchexpands the number of talented researchers, bringing a new perspective, talent, and creativity. However, there is a historical gender gap in science and technology, and it is a field in which the achievements and participation of women have been made invisible.
Few people know the fundamental role of women in science, and few know the names of important women scientists. It is therefore necessary to recognize the contributions of women in the areas of research and innovation, to eradicate discrimination against women and girls in science, and to eliminate stereotypes.
Regarding the latter, it is well known that gender stereotypes already create barriers for girls and young women to pursue scientific and technological disciplines from an early age, but, women who choose this path find other ‘kinks in the wheel’: they tend to devote more time to family responsibilities and promotion is based on male standards and evaluation criteria.
In Latin America
According to a report, in comparative terms, Latin America and the Caribbean have a high rate of female researchers (45%), making it the region with the second highest gender parity in this field. However, within the scientific-technological system, a significant horizontal segregation (by disciplines) and vertical segregation (to reach managerial roles and hierarchical positions) can be observed.
In Argentina, data from another survey indicate that six out of 10 university students are women, but they only represent 25% of the total number of engineering and applied sciences students, and 15% of the enrollment in programming careers. Lately, the country has seen “greater prominence of women in research. But in terms of their participation in hierarchical roles and the integration of the gender perspective, there are still many challenges to be addressed”.
At Baufest we understand that the scientific and technological field requires more women and we advocate for more women scientists and to put an end to gender inequality in science. We seek to create an organizational culture where women can develop professionally in the IT industry on a daily basis.