International Women in Science Conference
Spanish Research Council - CSIC
Spanish Association of Women Investigators and Technologists - AMIT
Progress in modern societies requires excellence in science and this implies the use of all human resources available. Correction of the under-representation of women, particularly in higher research positions, is needed to avoid the waist of talent and is also a question of justice.
In Spain, 54.3% of university students are women, and among graduates 60.2% are women. However, only 13.7 % of university full professors are female. The Spanish Research Council (CSIC), the largest governmental research institution in Spain, has about a third of permanent researchers who are female but over two thirds of them remain at the lowest rank along their career. In the top rank (equivalent to full professor), only 17% of the scientists are women. There is high variation, nevertheless, among the different areas, with Food Sciences and Humanities presenting recent advance (39% and 31% women in top rank, respectively) but Materials Science and Technology improving very slowly (9% women in top rank).
It was only in 2001 that the CSIC began to analyze the possible existence of gender related discrimination which could have influenced the career development of women scientists. In September 2002, the Committee on Women and Science was formally established with the mandate to report on the situation, to analyze the reasons hindering women's scientific careers and to propose solutions to problems encountered. An initial analysis of productivity among male and female researchers in the CSIC institutes of Catalonia did not show any gender difference. A proposal of a "transversal gender action" including measures to detect and correct the unbalanced situation has been included in the 2006-09 CSIC Strategic Plan and a Gender Equality Plan is being elaborated in agreement with recently approved Spanish Equality Laws.
AMIT was founded in 2001 by a group of women of the CSIC and Universities and has now over 400 members from all areas of knowledge. Is a national platform working to make the professional activities of women more visible, to denounce the existence of discrimination, to unravel the mechanism leading to it and to propose corrective actions.
Flora de Pablo, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, CSIC
C/ Ramiro de Maeztu 9, E-28040 Madrid (Spain)
Tel / Fax: +34 91 534 9201
Alternative Fax: +34 91 536 0432