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Can Ruti addresses current advances and challenges in female leadership in science

For the sixth consecutive year and in honour of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the Can Ruti Working Group Women for Equity in Science (formerly known as Women in Science) organised a symposium to reflect on the status of women in science. The event was held yesterday, 8 February, at the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (IGTP) and was attended by over a hundred people in person and online. It focused on "Women and Leadership in Science".

The director of IGTP, Jordi Barretina, and the director of Care Strategy and Innovation at the Gerència Territorial Metropolitana Nord, Oriol Estrada, welcomed the attendees, highlighting Can Ruti Campus' initiative to unite in search of equity in science and emphasising IGTP's commitment to promoting equality and fully integrating the gender perspective into research.

Next, Julia García-Prado, scientific director of IGTP, group leader at IrsiCaixa, and founding member of WiS (now W4E), gave a general overview of the activities carried out on the campus by W4E and the institutional equality committees.

The symposium featured three speakers from outside the campus, linked to the academic and scientific world, who shared their role in promoting diversity, inclusion, and leadership in their respective fields. Coming from the Basque Country, Nagore Iriberri, Ikerbasque Research Professor at the Department of Economic Analysis at the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, analysed gender gaps at the academies.

Julià Blanco Arbués, group leader at IrsiCaixa, chaired a Journal Club focusing on sexism in academia. The discussion allowed for debate on its harmful role in science and how it constitutes a waste of public funding.

After a brief break, Cristina Peligero and Anna Pons, researchers at IrsiCaixa, presented the data from the W4E Observatory. The reports show that gender equality figures have improved since this initiative was formed. Likewise, the researchers pointed out that there are still areas in which work must continue.

Diving into the core theme of the symposium's title, the event featured a session chaired by Nuria Izquierdo, group leader at IrsiCaixa, under the theme "Women and Leadership in Science: how far have we come and where are we headed?". Alicia Marín, business coach and facilitator at The Sky is the Limit and associate professor at IE-Business School in Madrid, spoke about female empowerment and scientific leadership.

Julia Vergara-Alert, doctor of Veterinary Medicine at IRTA-CReSA and recipient of the 2022 National Young Talent Research Award in Catalonia, shared her professional journey in science.

Following this, a roundtable discussion was moderated by IrsiCaixa researchers Sara Cabrero and Elisa Molina. Blanco, Iriberri, Marín, and Vergara were able to express their perspectives on the topics discussed during the symposium. Attendees present at the event also had the opportunity to participate, sharing their experiences and posing questions to the speakers.

To conclude, Dàlia Raich, researcher at IrsiCaixa, paid tribute to the women who participated in the Manhattan Project, recognising their significant and often underestimated contributions in scientific, technical, and support roles during the development of the first atomic bomb. These women broke gender barriers at a time when it was unusual for them to work in science and engineering, and their acknowledgement aims to correct historical omissions, highlight their pioneering role, and inspire future generations in STEM fields.

Julia García-Prado provides a very positive assessment of the meeting: "After six years of continuous efforts to maintain the relevance and attendance at these conferences, we are pleased to note that the current edition has concluded with significant success. This year, the analysis has focused on female leadership, highlighting the persistent disparities in gender roles and proposing corrective measures such as the adoption of more transparent and equitable selection processes. The speakers have emphasised the urgent need to incorporate such leadership in biomedical research settings, as an indispensable vehicle for scientific excellence and the search for innovative health solutions."

About Can Ruti Working Group Women for Equity in Science (W4E)

Can Ruti Working Group Women for Equity in Science is a group established to promote equality in research at the Can Ruti Campus, with a special emphasis on equal opportunities for women and the gender dimension in research.

It is an independent inter-institutional group, supported logistically and in communication by the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (IGTP). The activities of W4E focus on two areas: gender equality for those working in the campus research institutions and the inclusion of the gender dimension in biomedical research. Currently, the group is focusing on the inclusion of everyone in biomedical research, regardless of gender or other characteristics.

Contact W4E at wiscanruti(ELIMINAR)

The current members of W4E are:

  • Cristina Agustí, CEEISCAT-IGTP, ICO
  • Gabriela Alzáibar, ScienHub - Education
  • Sara Cabrero, IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute
  • Harvey Evans, IGTP
  • Julia García-Prado, IGTP Scientific Director, IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute
  • Nuria Izquierdo-Useros, IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute
  • Sara Morón-López, IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute
  • Elisa Molina, IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute
  • Jose A. Muñoz-Moreno, Fight Infections Foundation
  • Cristina Peligero, IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute
  • Anna Pons, IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute
  • Dàlia Raich, IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute
  • Sofia Sabato, IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute
  • Inés Velasco, HUGTiP, IGTP
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