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They present the book Awakening the Scientific Call among Girls

They present the book Awakening the Scientific Call among Girls

▲ Pictured above, from left to right, are Viridiana Gabriela Yanez Rivas, Alejandra Lamas Bugarin, Margarita Rosado Solis, and María Elena Álvarez-Buela in text view. Below are aspects of the event.Photo courtesy Conahsett

Erent Gomez

La Jornada newspaper
Saturday, June 15, 2024, p. 6

Why are women only a third of those conducting research in Mexico? How will we reverse this situation? These were the questions that prompted scholars Margarita Rosado Solís, Martha Takani Imai, Alejandra Lamas Bugarin, and Martha Pérez Armendariz to prepare the book. Awakening the scientific profession among girlss.

The work, published by the National Council for the Humanities, Sciences and Technology (Conahcyt), is organized into nine chapters, in which the experiences of women dedicated to science are recounted, a historical overview of their involvement is given, from the ancient world to the present day, and there is a methodological proposal for girls to approach science.

Margarita Rosado Solís, a doctor from the University of Paris and attached to the Institute of Astronomy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), said: In Mexico, the number of scientists is small, much lower than in Chile and Brazil, but in the case of women, the participation rate is lower, and this is exacerbated in the specific fields: physics, mathematics and engineering, where their percentage does not exceed 15 to 20 percent..

The expert proposed a comparative analysis between an investigation conducted in 1993, in which it was found that a third of astronomers in Mexico were women, and one from 2012, which showed that within 20 years, the presence had decreased, reaching only a quarter, which forces us to think about… How to reproduce these inequalities.

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To obtain input that led to the book’s appearance, Conahsett organized an international conference, which included experts from the Institut National Polytechnique (IPN), UNAM, as well as Dara Norman, President of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). Which studies the patterns of scientific culture that tend to prefer men’s work over women’s work.

From the content of that conference and the theses contained in the book, Rosado Solís highlights stories such as that of Paris Bechemish, the first professional astronomer in modern Mexico, and a generational coach, and that of Rosalind Franklin, who, despite a sexist environment, had a fundamental involvement in the discovery DNA structure.

In other sections of the work, mathematics is discussed and why it is difficult for men and women, by Martha Takani. The chapter by Dara Norman examines biases in the way letters of recommendation are written based on gender.

Prosperous future

Alejandra Llamas Bugarin, a doctorate in physics from the Autonomous University of Zacatecas who also co-edited and designed the book, said: Writing a prosperous future for science and humanity is, first and foremost, looking back at history and recognizing women who have made a difference by pursuing their dreams..

She considered that her entry into this field not only had an impact on the advancement of knowledge, but was also an inspiration for the inclusion of girls, women and other youth in order to approach this field. That’s why a large part of this book is devoted to walking and monitoring their steps.

Lamas Bugarin said he came from a family of limited means, with parents who had no academic education, and that it was looking at the sky that awakened his scientific career. But if I am before you today, it is because of people like Margarita Rosado, an astrophysicist whose virtues have given me the greatest sorority to continue here, despite the controversies found along the way..

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He added that this piece seeks to inspire girls to follow the path of science throughout history, although there is also a suggestion about how their nature as scientists can be channeled towards professional training, through play and the use of new technologies.

Now is a critical time more than ever to support girls and young women to realize their dreams and challenge the barriers of social and even familial environments, to succeed in STEM fields..

During the book presentation, researcher Viridiana Gabriela Yanez Rivas, from Conahsett, highlighted this This work invites us to reflect and remember that the inclusion of women in science has not been an easy path. For a long time, they were denied access to education, and for some time it was unacceptable for them to study a professional career..