International Women’s Day is an opportunity to bring attention to equality and inclusion. These are uncertain times and the pandemic has intensified inequality: according to ISTAT (the Italian National Institute of Statistics) 99,000 out of the 101,000 people who lost their job during this period are female. And so, we are pleased to have been given the opportunity to take part in a project that will boost the visibility of female contributions to science, a field that is sadly not immune to the deep-rooted gender inequality that exists in our society.
History is full of many women who helped widen the boundaries of science and find solutions to complex global challenges. Yet these stories rarely end with these women receiving the recognition they deserve; more often than not, advances made by female scientists have been downplayed and undervalued. In particular, in the “hard science” field, the so-called STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), there is still a gap between men and women when it comes to entry, training, access to funds and resources, jobs, and the opportunity to reach the top of the professional ladder.
The road to equality still has far to go, but female participation in this field is growing and there is an increasing number of projects aimed at helping the very young get into scientific subjects (encouraging their curiosity so this discipline is more attractive) and initiatives aimed at boosting the visibility of the many women who already enjoy professional success in the field. These will promote female role models within the scientific community and help smash the cultural preconceptions that currently exist in our society.
Gender equality is also promoted through language and representation. Access to information free from cultural prejudice makes it easier for women to enter scientific careers and advances their full acceptance within this professional sector. The goal is to boost inclusion and to be able to concentrate on science, rather than the connection between gender and science. Because of this, we are proud to be taking part in this interesting initiative, which celebrates the stories of determined, ingenious women capable of changing the world!