Women in Science

The 6th International Day of Women and Girls in Science will be held on 11 February 2021. The UN General Assembly established the International Day of Women and Girls in Science to celebrate women’s excellence in science and remind the international community that science and gender equality have to advance hand-in-hand to address major global challenges and achieve all the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda.

At present, less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women. According to UNESCO data (2014 – 2016), only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. Fortunately, in the European Union there is more gender balance, with more than 6.3 million female scientists and engineers accounting for 41% of total employment in science and engineering in 2019. However, by sector, women were underrepresented in manufacturing (where only 21% of scientists and engineers were female), while there was more of a gender balance in the services sector (46%).

The INGREEN project pays strong attention to gender equality. The presence of women in the overall personnel is more or less equal, with 8 of the 17 partners in the consortium being led by women, 47% for the entire consortium. The scientific program coordination is led by Prof. Rosalba Lanciotti, who significantly increases the importance of female gender within the consortium. Several pharmaceutical products, such as intimate cleanser and vaginal gel, will be developed by INGREEN that are designed specifically to improve the health and wellbeing of women.

“At UNIBO, the food, industrial and pharmaceutical microbiology departments (DISTAL, FABIT and DICAM) have very strong teams of female scientists. In general, the female component is dominant in the microbiology sector. There is a historical reason for this is, due to the fact that the women since the ancient time were responsible for food preparation and preservation (so fermentation and  cooking for example) but also taking care of diseases, disinfecting wounds, cleaning and many other activities related to microorganism removal (pathogenic and spoilage ones) or exploitation (e.g. fermentation agents and probiotics, production of drugs and chemicals). For this reason, we are very proud of our research activities, also on the formulation of a health-promoting cheese designed for women, (read the full articles below).

Prof. Rosalba Lanciotti, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna

‘Diversity in any field brings certain advantages, and science is no different. A woman scientist will bring in a different viewpoint and skills than a man, in the same way that different cultures and backgrounds all serve to enrich a team. I thoroughly enjoyed my chemical engineering and computer science educations and my career as a research scientist and hope that more and more girls are inspired to consider these STEM fields!”

Erin Schols, INEUVO

“Since I was at school, Science and Engineering allowed me to learn and explore new things. Today I enjoy taking part in projects as INGREEN which are changing the future of EU. Join us to be part of the revolution by discovering and creating all the ideas you have in your mind.”

Vanesa Martinez, Tecnopackaging