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Learning from Spanish women in science

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Meg Munn MP has been campaigning to increase the numbers of women working in science, engineering and technology and welcomed the opportunity to find out about progress in these areas across Spain. She recently met Ines Sanchez, Director of Women and Science in the Spanish Ministry of the Economy to discuss the issue.


Signora Sanchez outlined similar problems for women in Spain as those found in the UK.  As in here in addition to the “glass ceiling”, there is horizontal segregation in science. For example, 75% of medical students are now female but there are few women in senior positions and in particular in the gynaecology and paediatric fields there are no female professors. However she also reported that the number of female engineers is increasing in Spain at a faster level than the European average following concerted effort.


Last year a law was passed with all-party support to tackle the problem in universities. It sets out requirements for gender balance committees in hiring and evaluation in academic institutions. The impact will be closely monitored to see what difference this makes to recruitment, retention and progression.


Meg said:


“Clearly Spain experiences many of the same problems as the UK in recruiting women into science and then being able to progress to senior positions. It was very useful to hear about the steps they are taking.


I am interested in learning whether the requirement for gender balance in recruitment processes in universities results in women being more successful. The UK has so far chosen to encourage institutions to improve rather than make take the mandatory approach.”


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