What legacy do we want to leave?

March 27, 2022 | 13:00

Women of science: what legacy do we want to leave?

Rosangela Iwasei*

What do the names of Katie Bowman, Rosalind Franklin and Florence Sabine have in common? Katie Bowman is a young scientist who managed to provide the first image of a black hole. Rosalind Franklin contributed to the discovery of the three-dimensional shape of the DNA molecule. It is responsible for image 51, which is the first image of the molecule’s double helix shape. On the other hand, Florence Sabine conducted research and made important discoveries on the human body, being the first woman to hold a chair of medicine in a university.

In Brazil, until the 1980s and 1990s, when women began to participate more actively in research, this field was almost exclusively male. Currently, although there has been a significant increase in the presence of women in research fields, many face double shifts, among other responsibilities usually assigned to them. This led to the idea that the mentors would not have enough time to deal with the research projects and the students they supervised. Recently, a group of zoologists, a field of biology that focuses on far fewer females, wrote an article in response to criticism from Nature Communications that females should have male guides or they could interfere negatively. in the training of researchers.

According to the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, CNPQ, women already represent 43% of researchers in Brazil, and according to the United Nations, this figure drops to 30% worldwide. However, even with the increase in the number of women in science and the promising scenario for the future, they are still unable to rise to prominent positions, with few exceptions. Women make up less than 10% of members of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.

Even in this hostile environment,
women win
More and more space in
Several regions previously
personalized for men

Even in this hostile scenario, women are increasingly taking their place in several areas, once attributed to men. They became increasingly involved in technology and health courses, providing a range of opportunities for other women to inspire. In this context, the School plays an essential role in arousing students’ curiosity, showing scientific, technological and research paths, as well as stimulating interest in research areas. There is no education without research, as it is an important component of the teaching and learning process.

While boys are motivated from an early age with building blocks and spaceships, and can be firefighters, scientists, and policemen, girls are still limited by choices that are traditional in the female world. Children should be encouraged to choose toys because by playing and imitating reality, they are preparing for the future. Girls should, from an early age, have the right and the motivation to imagine themselves as scientists, engineers and astronauts. Limiting children’s choices limits their creativity.

To encourage greater participation of women in science, the United Nations created the International Day of Women in Science, which is celebrated on February 11. This eleventh may be more than one day on the calendar of commemorative dates. I hope this is a day for all of us, as educators, parents and society, to reflect on our role in this legacy.

* Professor of biology at the Colégio Positivo.

Note: Signed articles do not necessarily express the opinion of Diário do Aço. newspaper

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