Elevating Women in Science

By: Diana Petrowicz, Tue Apr 13 2021
Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

Women scientists are leading ground-breaking research across the world. But despite their remarkable discoveries, women still represent just 33.3% of researchers globally according to the UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 (2021), and their work rarely gains the same level of recognition as their male counterparts.

Florencia Boero, Communication and Press Manager for Chicas en Tecnología, Andrea Gonçalves Librarian, Academic Researcher & Translator and Sowmya Swaminathan, Head of Editorial Policy and Research Integrity, Springer Nature discussed in this 1-hour webinar the ways librarians can encourage diversity and inclusion in learning and researching, and what mentor programs and initiatives they can introduce to elevate the next generation of female scientists.

Florencia Boero © Springer Nature

Florencia Boero is a publicist, who specializes in social media and digital strategies for NGOs in Latin America. She's coordinated educational projects and led different communications teams. She's a speaker at international events and has delivered workshops on technology, open data, social media and communication with gender perspective. Currently, she is communication and press manager for Chicas en Tecnologíca, a nonprofit organization from Argentina that seeks to close the gender gap in technology.

Throughout her career, Florencia has gained experience in how technology can benefit NGOs in Latin America and seen how technology can make a real change in the world. She started holding webinars and workshops about social media and communication, how NGOs can use data and open data, to make better campaigns, actual policies and change in the policies in their countries. All her talks involved technology and when she talked about technology she noticed everyone thought of men, male developers who are behind our social media platform platforms that we use every day. Who creates technology that we use every single day such as our cell phone or a laptop? And that's the same question that the co-founders of Chicas en Tecnología asked themselves back in 2015. The NGO started in Buenos Aires, Argentina and seeks to inspire young women to pursue STEM careers trying to close the gender gap in technology and the ecosystem at the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Latin America. We are living in a world with increasing technology development and there's less and less interest for adolescent women to pursue STEM careers in 2021. According to data we are now 250 years behind, so we know we are not doing it in this lifetime, but we are planting the seeds for the next generation of women that can pursue science and STEM careers.

SN webinar page © Springer Nature

Andrea Gonçalves is a library and researcher in scholarly publishing and racial studies. She has an extensive career in Information Management, and her areas of expertise include scholarly communication, electronic publishing and citation metrics. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD in Information Science, where she studies the strategies of Latin American scientific journals to position themselves in the international arena, and also a PhD in history and politics addressing the access of black students to graduate school in Brazil.

According to Andrea’s experience as a researcher, we are sometimes not even conscious of how much we were dealing with the issues of diversity and inclusion of women. In Brazil, due to the social economic situation and population, what are the odds for a black woman, to go to the university to a graduate program? And what are the odds for someone to go to graduate programs, as she is doing right now? It's not easy, because of all the socioeconomic barriers that in Brazil for black people to reach graduate school. And then in addition, they also have to face several experiences of racism of sexism, which are frequent in all social spaces that they are in and they do not disappear in academia, or just because you have a title or because you're a PhD student, says Andrea. As a woman and especially as a black woman, she thinks people continuously question your presence in these spaces. These are challenges that, according to Andrea, they have to face almost every day. According to a study in 2018, the gender parity of graduate students in Brazil, shows six out of 10 graduate students are women right now. But we know from other data that most of these women study the social sciences and humanities. So women in STEM are still very rare. When we look at the ratio parity of those students, we can see that only three out of 10 are black. That's considering men and women. So this is not what we would call diversity, right?

Sowmya Swaminathan © Springer Nature

Sowmya Swaminathan steers editorial policy and editorial policy development including policies and initiatives that advance transparency integrity, open research practices, and inclusion in scholarly publishing. She is a strong advocate of working in coalition with diverse stakeholders across the research ecosystem towards solutions that benefit the research community. She has been at nature journals since 2003 and is a member of the Springer Nature Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council.

As an organization, we at Springer Nature believe that we have a responsibility to advance the values of diversity, equity and inclusion in the scholarly communication landscape, says Sowmya. Through our networks, our journals and platforms, we want to promote these values in the research community and the publishing industry. In 2019, the Nature Portfolio journals, launched a diversity commitment and a centerpiece of the commitment was to increase gender diversity and representation of women in our pool of commissioned editors and peer reviewers. And for those journals that have editorial board members to increase representation of women on boards. 

The important aspect of our diversity commitment is to use our journals to amplify the voices and perspectives of women in research, and to draw attention to issues that affect the research community, broadly, but that are have a significantly impacting women researchers. In addition, we are also looking at putting in place policies that have an impact on how research itself is carried out. Another key aspect of our Diversity Commitment was the introduction of a code of conduct and a diversity policy for our Nature conferences including a commitment to a “no men only” policy for conference, organizers and panels. We've committed to adopting it for events that are being produced across Springer Nature. 

Across Springer Nature, we are committed to advancing gender equality as part of our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We have a dedicated hub that curates collection of content on SDG-5.

Watch the webinar recording below and download the presentation. On the Amplifying Women in Science page you can read more about the different publishing initiatives.

Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

Diana Petrowicz is a Marketing Manager in the Sales Enablement team, based in the London office. Supporting the Sales and Account Development teams, she is enthusiastic about finding innovate ways to communicate with the library community and specialises in producing and writing case studies across the portfolio.

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