The United Nations General Assembly declared 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science to recognise the key role of women in the scientific and technological community, to make them visible, to break down stereotypes, and to put an end to existing inequalities in this sector. For example, according to the study Women and Science in Barcelona, commissioned by Barcelona City Council and published in 2022, there are numerous factors resulting from a highly masculinised academic culture, that hinder women researchers in the advancement of their careers and promotion to positions of responsibility. For this reason, institutions all over the world are commemorating this day of vindication. Barcelona joins in every year with various proposals, such as those described below.
One of the highlights of recent years on this international day is #100tífiques, an initiative of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST), an institution with which Barcelona City Council has signed an agreement precisely to take action to reduce the gender gap in the science system, and the Fundació Catalana per a la Ciència i la Innovació (FCRI).
This year, #100tífiques has organised a meeting event on 2 February, to discuss the role of scientific references for girls, female leadership in the scientific sector, and positioning in the workplace, among other topics. The meeting has been attended by personalities such as the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, the Catalan Minister for Research and Universities, Joaquim Nadal, the Catalan Minister for Feminism and Equality, Tània Verge, and the sixth deputy mayor of the City Council and director of the Department of Culture, Education, Science and Community, Jordi Martí. Another highlight of #100tífiques is the simultaneous talks by women scientists in numerous high schools and educational centres in the region on 10 February. The initiative also organises workshops and training sessions aimed at women scientists and teaching staff.
Another recurrent proposal is the hybrid Wikimarathon (face-to-face and online) on 13 February, promoted by the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) and its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee to provide Wikipedia with new content in any language on women scientists and their contributions. Also on 13 February, the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB) is organising a couple of activities to mark the Day of Women and Girls in Science. One of them is the theatrical performance Dialogue on the Nature of the Universe, with the participation of eminent astronomers of the modernist era, about an imaginary meeting in 1926 between Arthur Eddington, Cecilia Payne, and Josep Comas i Solà. On the same day, the institute hosts the round table The origins of cosmology, the participation of women and gender bias in science.
Some local facilities and museums are also joining in the commemoration. This is the case of the Vil·la Urània Civic Centre, which is hosting a workshop on 10 February on scientific stories about the astronomer Henrietta Leavit, and a talk on 15 February on the women of the Bauhaus School and their ability to link art and science. On 11 and 12 February, CosmoCaixa has also prepared the guided tour Women in Science to its permanent exhibition and a family workshop Great Contributions by Women Scientists.
These are some of the proposals for the next Women and Girls in Science Day. We are sure that new ones will emerge as the date approaches. Stay tuned.