8M: Women in technology

The relationship between women and innovation continues to attract attention in 2019. Some technological developments that have been in the news for their innovative nature were promoted by teams led by women, even though the proportion of female to male postdoctoral researchers stands at 40%–60%, according to the report Dona i Ciència (Women and Science) by the Government of Catalonia.

Initiatives such as improving the lighting in operating theatres by Alícia Casals (CREB) and personalised prostheses through 3D printing by Maria Pau Ginebra (CREB) are two good examples of innovations by female researchers at the UPC. They are projects in the last stretch of the knowledge transfer process, whose benefits are clearly visible to all society. We can also mentioned the work of female researchers such as Dani Tost (CREB) or the recent initiative led by the engineer Monika Bachofner, who is at the front of the European project EIT Urban Mobility. In the area of urban mobility, Lídia Montero (Inlab FIB) has also made an important contribution.

The minority of women in the final stretch of the research career, after completion of doctoral training, does not correspond with the percentages of women in the early stages (bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and thesis), in which there are more women than men. The change in trend occurs just at this point, which is why the imbalance needs to be redressed by promoting corrective measures.

Equality is achieved by standardising a relationship of real parity. Identical conditions of access, payment and promotion must be guaranteed, and measures taken to eliminate the obstacles that women encounter in the process just because they are women.

Núria Salán (CIEFMA) explained this clearly a year ago. The fight for equality in the scientific and research career is a long-distance race in which, as in Alice in Wonderland, it is not enough just to advance. Instead, even today, women must run twice as fast to get to the other side.

At the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) a constant, ever-increasing effort is made in this area that should be recognised on a day like today. The Equality Plan acts on various fronts, such as elimination of the glass ceiling, fostering of the incorporation of women into the ITC sector (where the proportion of men to women is 70–30), and work-life balance measures.

For 8M, various initiatives have been organised to contribute to increasing the visibility and recognition of women’s work in science and technology. One of the main aims is to increase interest in scientific careers among girls and female adolescents.

Days like today should be supported to achieve and highlight aspects that require improvement. We have mentioned the names of some of the most visible, well-known women, but on 8M the spotlights should shine on all women. In their hands and heads, and in those of women to come, is our future.

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