Inclusion, Equality and Gender Committee
We are a vocationally diverse committee. Each member has a unique role in our community.
The committee aims to identify and promote initiatives that support diversity at IBMB. We strongly believe that diversity stimulates creativity and consequently scientific excellence.
Our specific objectives are:
1) Gather and analyze our current situation of diversity in terms of, mainly, gender balance and equality, but also in cultural and personal-condition diversity and LGBT+ inclusivity.
2) Disseminate the situation and values of equality, diversity and inclusion within the IBMB community and understand the level of value placed on equality, diversity, and inclusion in the IBMB community
3) Promote the values of diversity, equality and inclusion in all aspects and activities at IBMB, from inclusive language to selection of speakers
4) Take positive actions to promote gender and social equality (see Actions)
5) Collaborate/advice with IBMB direction in decision making toward attracting staff at different career stages and professional categories.
6) Protect staff against sexual harassment and discrimination based on gender, race or sexual orientation (See Mailbox)
7) Promote diversity and inclusion with scientific communication and social outreach through different activities and events (see Actions)
Despite efforts by the Spanish government to enact policy changes that support women’s inclusion in the workforce and more access to leadership positions, women still hold only 14.3% of the higher level positions in large companies. This percentage is lower than other European countries, and research shows that society still considers women less fit for leadership roles (Hernandez Bark, A. S., Escartín, J., & van Dick, R. (2014). Gender and leadership in Spain: A systematic review of some key aspects. Sex Roles, 70(11), 522-537).
European (and Spanish) laboratories are highly populated by young female predoctoral and postdoctoral researchers. However, the proportion of women in positions of responsibility (leading laboratory researchers, departmental / center directors) remains low. This is an endemic disease in all professional activities.
Today, IBMB is formed by 29 teams, ~40% of these teams are led by women PIs. This extraordinary gender balance at IBMB PIs is the consequence of very active female faculty, with strong leadership, that have been historically participating in the institute direction boards since 2006. Underlaying this strong female participation there has been an extraordinary ~50% incorporation of female PIs along the 20 years of IBMB consolidation. This gender balance of PIs is high for this ICU when compared to similar ICUs in campus (IRB, ~20%) or to the CSIC Life Sciences Area (Biology and Biomedicine subarea, 33%).
The example of successful professional women in their field is vital for future researchers to take the necessary steps towards the scientific career. In 2020, 33% of the national projects in the CSIC Life Area/Biology and Biomedicine Subarea were led by women. The IBMB, as an institute of the CSIC, improves that average, with 38% of PI women. Female researchers at IBMB maintain a very high level of scientific competitiveness internationally without having to give up their family and social life, if they wish.
Besides our commitment in gender equality at IBMB, we are also engaged in promoting diversity and inclusion in our research mission. At present, the proportion of scientific staff at any stage of the career from the European Union (EU) at IBMB is higher than that compared to the proportion of EU citizens in the Barcelona area (8,5% of EU researchers at IBMB vs 3,5% EU citizens in Barcelona area.). In contrast, the proportion of researchers at IBMB from countries other than the EU is low compared to the proportion of citizens of those countries (mainly Southamerica and Africa) living in the Barcelona area (3,5% at IBMB compared to 17% in the total population). Stimulating scientific exchange and collaboration as well as scientific outreach should help to address this imbalance. Our actions aim to balance these numbers to the percentages of the actual population residing in the Barcelona area.
Three Actions to increase diversity in Science at the IBMB
1. Mentoring program for young students in disadvantaged urban areas (High School):
Many young students do not feel attracted to scientific and technological areas, in spite of their intellectual capacity. Several reasons account for this reality, from lack of referents and role models, to social stereotypes. This lack of interest is extremely clear among young women and individuals from South-american and African origin, and particularly evident in rural areas or in urban areas with high social complexities.
Our program aims to approach young students (particularly women from South-american and African origin, without excluding anyone) at very early stages to show them that scientific careers can be an appealing and engaging option.
We are approaching and visiting High Schools in disadvantaged urban areas of Barcelona. After discussing with the students about the role of women in science, the stereotypes, role models and the importance of scientific research, we offer them mentoring for their “Research Project (Treball de Recerca)” of “Batxillerat”. The Research Project is a compulsory high school activity that can be mentored by an external tutor.
With this program we expect to encourage scientific vocations, particularly among young women and individuals of South-american and African origins, and engage them in research.
2. Mentoring program to promote career development of women scientists and underrepresented groups at IBMB
We plan to initiate internal informal talks with young women and underrepresented scientists at all career levels. We aim to study the challenges hindering access of these groups to a long-term scientific career and to work internally in promoting the gender and international perspective as a transversal category in all aspects of our day-to-day life. This initiative will help to make visible to early-stage women scientists possible obstacles that they may face during their promotion, and help them to anticipate solutions. With this action, we also aim to draw attention to positive stories and role models. Science and Society cannot afford the current waste of highly qualified female talent, and we compelled to propose urgent actions.
3. Actions to raise social awareness of gender inequality in science
Even in the 21st century, 67% of European Citizens think that women lack the necessary skills for science such as rational thinking, analytical and practical mind and/or perseverance, among others https://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2015/sep/24/67-of-europeans-dont-believe-women-have-the-skills-to-be-scientists. Hence, the example of successful professional women is vital for future researchers to take the necessary steps towards the scientific career. Only when gender becomes irrelevant to how people view the person at the bench will equality in the lab even start to become a reality.
Female faculty at IBMB maintain a very high level of scientific international competitiveness. Through our experiences, we want to contribute to the elimination of prejudices, so that girls consider science as a real possibility in their lives.
We participate every year in the 11F initiative (International day of women and girls in science) in February giving talks and workshops in Primary and High Schools. We show the students what it is like to be a woman scientist and how exciting science can be. We raise awareness about the relevance of science in each person’s daily life, and educate and inspire the next generation of women as potential scientists. Our previous experiences with this work have been incredibly enriching to both sides.
We also participate in the 11F initiative and the 8 March (International Women’s day) through our web page and social media with different outreach actions (see Gallery). On both February 11th and March 8th, we share stories on our social media and website about the women at our Institute. This year on the International Day of women and girls in science, we featured images of our women scientists showing their passions outside of science. We wanted to show that the female leaders at IBMB excel in their careers, but they can pursue other interests too.
to realize that we are all brothers and sisters
and human beings in the human race?”.
European (and Spanish) laboratories are highly populated by young female predoctoral and postdoctoral researchers. However, the proportion of women in positions of responsibility (leading laboratory researchers, departmental / center directors) remains low
This is an endemic disease in all professional activities. However, in addition to the intrinsic obstacle that often implies to make compatible professional and family activities, in the scientific career we face a surprising added problem; even in the 21st century, 67% of europeans think that women lack the necessary skills for science such as rational thinking, analytical and practical mind and / or perseverance, among others (https://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2015/sep/24/67-of-europeans-dont-believe-women-have-the-skills-to-be-scientists). Why are there only 18 female scientists Nobel Prize winners versus 590 men?
The example of successful professional women in their field is vital for future researchers to take the necessary steps towards the scientific career. In 2020, 35% of the national projects in the CSIC were led by women, the IBMB, as an institute of the CSIC, improves that average, having 37.93% of PI women. Female researchers at IBMB maintain a very high level of scientific competitiveness internationally without having to give up forming a family, if they wish. Counting their experience they want to contribute to eliminate the opacity on the scientific women so that young researchers do not abandon science. Society cannot afford this waste of highly qualified talent.
Do you need help, support or advice related to diversity, equality and inclusion?
You can directly contact any of us or use the following e-mail address for questions, any incident, initiatives or concerns you may have in this regard. Messages will be treated with the strictest confidentiality.