13 September 2023
The Basque Minister of Equality, Justice and Social Policies, Nerea Melgosa, and the Director of Emakunde, Miren Elgarresta, presented on 13 September, the International Conference "Equality, Science and Technology, for a change of paradigm" to be held on 23 and 24 October at the Miramar Palace in San Sebastian. Other speakers included the Director of Nanogune, Txema Pitarke and the Director of Digital Identity at the University of Deusto, Lorena Fernández.
The President of the Basque Government, Iñigo Urkullu, will officially open an event that will bring together international experts to address existing inequalities and gender gaps, as well as the transformations needed to systemically incorporate equality between women and men in the field of science and technology.
The conference, as explained by the Regional Minister for Equality, is part of the Country Pact for Equality and for lives free of gender-based violence, Berdinaldia, which was presented in June 2022 and which this year focuses on two of its commitments: "Empowering women and girls" and "Digital transformation". Nerea Melgosa recalled the need to change the paradigm in this area if we are to make the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals a reality.
She added that the Basque Country and as part of Berdinaldia, "we promote this objective through commitment number 8 of the Pact for Equality, which advocates taking advantage of digital technologies to advance gender equality and reduce gender violence; promoting actions to encourage girls and women to increase their interest and commitment to STEAM education in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics; and showcasing the leadership of women in design, production, innovation and technology, among other objectives".
In turn, the director of Emakunde, Miren Elgarresta, highlighted that the organisation of the conference responds to a demand from the scientific community itself and that it is necessary to take advantage of this impetus in favour of equality within this field "because equality, as the philosophy of the Pact for Equality states, is a team effort".
Some of the objectives of the conference are, on the one hand, to analyse the regulatory framework, public policies and the challenges of science and technology from the perspective of equality and, on the other hand, to provide specific tools for incorporating the gender perspective into the day-to-day practice of the organisations involved. It also aims to promote the recognition of women's role in science and technology and their scientific vocation, as well as an egalitarian, inclusive, safe and accessible digital transformation for women.
It also aims to address the influence that the prevailing male role model has on the very notion of scientific excellence and the role of boys and men as key drivers of change for equality in this field. Finally, the Conference will try to make proposals for the future that seek the commitment of all the actors involved.
Uneven career development
In her speech, Lorena Fernández pointed out that, according to the latest CSIC report on female researchers, there is a disparity in the evolution of the scientific careers of women and men. "At the pre-doctoral research stage, men account for 48.6% and women for 51.4%. However, as they advance in their careers, men account for 73.8 per cent, while women account for only 26.2 per cent at the highest level. This same pattern is repeated in the Basque Country Science Report 2022, we find that there are more women in the early stages of their scientific careers, but this figure decreases as they advance through the ranks," she notes.
In her view, this means that, as they are promoted less and stay longer on the same scientific scale, they are paid less and therefore the pay gap widens. She added that "at this conference, we not only want to focus on how to make organisations and institutions inclusive, safe and accessible environments for women; we will also work on how to incorporate a gender perspective in all phases of research and innovation so that it responds to the problems of society as a whole".
The University of Deusto is part of the scientific committee of this conference and also facilitates one of the workshops. In particular, the one entitled "Principales resistencias a la implementación de Planes de Igualdad y cómo abordarlas. El caso de GEARING-Roles".
Registration is now open. Register now