The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) is joining in the celebrations for 11 February by taking part in more than a dozen actions aimed at promoting scientific and technological vocations among girls and young women and making the role of women in the development of science more visible.
The report "Radiography of the gender gap in STEAM education" published in 2022 by the Equality Unit of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training shows that in some key disciplines for the future and, in particular, those related to Astronomy and Astrophysics, progress is not being made towards a more equitable professional representation, but that we are losing female talent. To give some figures, between 2002 and 2020, the percentage of female students enrolled in Spanish public universities fell by more than 9 points in Physics (from 36% to 26.7%) and the drop was more than 18 points in Mathematics (from 54.5% to 36.3%) and Computer Engineering (from 31.2% to 12.7%). To get more girls interested in these disciplines, the stereotypes associated with these professions and studies need to be broken down.
Since 2017, the IAC has joined the celebrations of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science with education and public awareness activities that seek to create new female references in Science and Technology, as well as to inspire new generations, especially girls, to follow in their footsteps.
In 2024, the IAC continues to participate in many of the projects and activities developed in previous years, especially those aimed at children and young people.
Habla con Ellas: Women in Astronomy 2024
The sixth edition of this project will feature 22 astrophysicists, engineers and technologists from the IAC, the Canary Islands Observatories and other collaborating institutions who will hold videoconferences with Spanish schools. In them, the speakers will explain their work, talk about their field of research and answer students' questions about scientific and technological careers, the Universe and the methods used to learn more about it. This initiative, organised and coordinated by the IAC's Scientific Culture and Communication Unit, is open to all levels of pre-university education, from Infant to Baccalaureate and Vocational Training, and runs from February to June.
In the five editions carried out so far, a total of 52 collaborators from the IAC and 12 other institutions have taken part, carrying out 216 activities with a reach of more than 8,600 students from practically all regions of Spain. The surveys answered by participating students and teachers show very positive evaluations of the activities and an increase in student interest in scientific and technological areas after the activity.
Collaborations with other initiatives
A large number of women researchers and engineers at the IAC also participate in various activities organised by other institutions. This is the case of the Chat with an Astronomer initiative, organised by the Women and Astronomy Commission of the Spanish Astronomy Society, which will take place on 15 February. For 12 uninterrupted hours, from 10:00 to 22:00, those interested will be able to connect to an online chat to chat with a professional astrophysicist.
Another of the actions aimed at schoolchildren with the participation of the IAC is the event "Science and Technology for Women - Women who change the world", organised by the Science and Technology Park of Tenerife (PCTT), which will be held on 9 February in the Multipurpose Hall of the IACTEC building.
In addition, during the months of February and March, talks and workshops will be given in person at numerous schools in the Canary Islands, organised within the framework of the 11F Conference or through the 11 February Platform. We also collaborate with audiovisual and school radio projects, giving interviews or participating in outreach videos.
The Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) will focus on the youngest children on La Palma, organising talks and visits to the telescope for groups of primary school children on the island.
IAC and IACTEC staff involved in the above activities:
Adriana de Lorenzo-Cáceres Rodríguez, Alejandra Goded Merino, Alessandra Ambrifi, Ana Escorza, Anelise Audibert, Anna Ferre Mateu, Antonia M. Varela, Arianna di Cintio, Auxiliadora Padrón Brito, Badiaa Ait Ahmed, Carme Gallart, Cristina Ramos Almeida, Emma Esparza Borges, Gaia Lacedelli, Icíar Montilla, Irene Puerto Giménez, Josefa Becerra González, Mary Barreto Cabrera, Montserrat Armas Padilla y Nayra Rodríguez Eugenio.
Collaborators: Ángela Hernández Delgado (Australian National University), Cecilia Fariña (Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes), Evanthia Hatziminaoglou (European Southern Observatory), Gloria Andreuzzi (TNG-INAF), Iballa B. Cabello García (ULL), Judith Santos Torres (Isaac Newton Group), Nataly Ospina (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) y Nieves Castro (GTC).
List of activities:
- Habla con Ellas: Mujeres en Astronomía
- Chatea con una Astrónoma
- Ciencia y Tecnología en femenino - Mujeres que cambian el mundo
- Activities of the Platform 11 de febrero
- Talks, workshops and face-to-face interviews in educational centres
- Talks and visits to the GTC with Grantecan personnel
Contact: Nayra Rodríguez Eugenio (IAC Scientific Communication and Culture Unit)
What is it? It is an IAC initiative that aims to make visible the work of women in Astronomy-Astrophysics, while offering girls inspiring models to promote their scientific and technological vocations. It consists of videoconferences with educational centres by women astrophysicists and engineers who work at the IAC and at other institutions
Some 40 women astronomers, engineers and technologists from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), from IACTEC and from other collaborating institutions are taking part in around ten initiatives to raise awareness of the important contribution of women in Science and to stimulate the interest of girls in scientific and technological careers. The activities are part of the celebrations of 11F, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and they will extend from February till June. Even though the percentage of women in scientific and technical careers has grown in recent
Women astronomers and engineers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), from the Canary Observatories, and from other collaborating institutions show their work and answer students’ questions in videoconferences with educational centres throughout Spain. Physics and Engineering are fields which are still see by society as “male professions”, and in which women continue to be under-represented. The challenge of awaking interest in these subjects among students, and especially among girls, means facing up to the idea that they are perceived as difficult and with few attractive
During the month of February, women researchers of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) will take part in lectures, workshops and debates to publicize the work of women in science, and to arouse interest in astronomy, physics, and technology in young girls. In addition the IAC plans to present a special number of the review “Paralajes” dedicated to “Women in Astronomy”, and a new video of the series “girls who broke a glass roof while observing the sky”, both of these initiatives in collaboration with the Spanish fund for Science and Technology (FECYT) of the Minsitry of Economy
In the framework of the project “The Return of Henrietta Leavitt. From school to a research career via the theatre” of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in collaboration with the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), an audiovisual series has been started in order to give visibility to the women astrophysicists and engineers at the IAC, while stimulating the intest of girls in scientific and technical careers. The first of these videos, which lasts for 5 minutes, is published today in the video channels (YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion) and the social networks of