Three stories on #ImAScientistBecause from women at Inspiralia
Today, on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we have asked three of our co-workers to share their stories on #ImAScientistBecause and let them elaborate on why science play such an important role in their lives and in the lives of others.
Irene Mencía (Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine, Master in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biomedicine)
“The importance of marking this day”
I have a simple answer to the question: who can do science? Everyone! Women in Science Day is important because doing Science should never be a question of gender.
Our current world population is gender balanced, and every curious mind seeking answers to new questions has the potential to do science, good science. But less than 1 in every 10 people studying Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths -STEM fields- are female (~8%). There is much work ahead to balance these numbers: policies, family conciliation etc. For me, the key point to trigger change is for girls to realize early that science is fun, and that everyone can add to a particular science area. Then it is just a matter of finding your way and not being dissuaded by everything else that needs changing – it has been so for all the great Women in Science until today.
Women in Science Day is important because doing Science should never be a question of gender.
Before knowing “I want to do Science”, curiosity had always motivated me to learn, not memorizing but reasoning. My realization happened at an orienting talk for university degrees: it would be fun to experience how very small pieces invisible to our eyes -genes and chemical interactions- are organized in harmony, making our bodies work. So, I went on to answer unknown questions on how gene controllers and minerals are useful to fix big body parts that break.
But doing Science is not limited to working in a lab. It is also social and about communication, for which you need to know different languages: Scientists need to communicate their discoveries between countries and also ‘make friends’, create a network of collaborations leading to impact. Now I am part of a big network that helps many professionals in STEM and other areas, so that innovative projects that started from the Science get out of the testing labs and improve people’s lives.
I believe more visibility about the latest science news – like in junior journals, what it really means to do science today, and how is a day in a scientist’s life, can spark the inspiration of many young females who are full of potential to do Science, make impactful discoveries and add to the progress of our society.
Berta Okenve (Master in Medical Chemistry)
Fortunately, we have seen the number of women involved in different employment fields increase in the latest years, but today, being the Day of Women and Girls in Science, I feel it is important to make a reflection: we should encourage girls to study more science, to show them they can be relevant in lines of work that years ago was only led by men. Personally, I was always intrigued by the things I could understand thanks to my technical profile, things that are otherwise relatively complex to the rest of society.
Over time society has changed and we can thank science for many of them such as new technologies, new vaccines, new innovative tools to detect illness in a faster way, using less intrusive techniques and giving the possibility to react on time.
Apart from that, science has amazing features from a learning perspective: as the use of rational thinking and the certainty of what is wrong, or right. As a student it was always positive to get out of a test knowing exactly how high my grade would be, taking into consideration that I developed the proper mathematical reasoning, or wrote the proper Phenol formula.
As science is based on the systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation there is not too much subjectivity. Theories should be based on objective reasoning, also of special importance when we talk about women. Even today we should still demonstrate “more” and perform better to get the same results as men. Therefore, we should encourage more girls to study science, we should make them participate in this field that gives you the possibility to show if you were right or wrong, based on something that goes far beyond a subjective judgment.
From my perspective as a black woman, I know that I am sometimes being rated based on social stereotypes, but by belonging to the world of science I have been able to distance myself more to subjective judgment and that is something I am glad about.
I hope this day, full of events and initiatives to change society for the better, will be able to spread a seed of interest for science to many girls around the world.
Isabel Irurzun (Master in Science and Innovation & Environmental Sciences)
I have always been a very curious person and a nature lover; my parents had a lot to do with that! I believe the weekend hiking’s in the mountains with my family, the bike tours on Saturday morning and all my summer holidays across campsites, going from one corner of Spain to another have greatly contributed to my scientific career.
I wanted to understand how the world worked and how I could contribute to maintain the nature I loved or even how to improve it. I started doing so by working in the renewable energies sector and now, in innovation, as I hope to continue helping sustainable ideas come into life.
Unfortunately, I knew very few scientific or technical women role models when I was a child, but I see this is changing with new scientific/technical events for youngsters, books, and information on the net.
I’d like to encourage girls to participate in these events, to read many books, try different fields and…keep doing so throughout their lives.
On today’s keynote, a special thought goes out to the girls that are participating among the more than 300 young innovators taking part in the 5th edition of FIRST LEGO League in Logroño this upcoming Saturday 16th of February. Inspiralia, as a member of La Fundación Riojana para la Innovación is supporting the event and initiatives of its kind.