The inspiring legacy of Marie Curie and the quest for equality in science

My admiration for Marie Curie It has grown over the years. As the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize in science and to receive a Doctor of Science degree in France, her legacy is truly inspiring. At a time when women faced structural barriers, Marie Curie He defied the odds by winning the Nobel Prize twice (Physics 1903 and Chemistry 1911). These awards honored his pioneering research into radioactivity and the discovery of radium and polonium, two essential elements in cancer treatment. Despite the many personal and professional challenges she faced, Marie Curie broke paradigms and paradigms He paved the way for women to believe in our ability to be scientists.Contribution to knowledge in basic sciences and recognition.

However, more than 120 years later, of the 639 scientists who won Nobel Prizes in scientific fields, Only 3.7% of womenNo woman from Latin America or Africa has received such an award in these fields. The historical underrepresentation of women in these recognitions has various causes, ranging from limited access to education to the invisibility of their contributions and gender stereotypes in the scientific field. 2009 and 2011 were the years in which the largest number of women received Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry and Medicine. There is still a significant gender gap in scientific fields that require in-depth analysis and structural change.

Let’s get started. Only 30% of women choose to study STEM-related careers (STEM), and only a third of researchers in these fields are women (UN Women). This disparity is reflected in the low presence of women in study, research and work in these specializations, which contributes to strengthening the gender gap. According to the book “The Invisible Woman,” which I highly recommend, references to women in textbooks and school materials are rare or non-existent, which limits girls’ role models and reduces their confidence in their abilities.

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However, this phenomenon does not begin when choosing a profession, but rather develops from childhood. According to a study published in the journal SciencesFrom the age of six, girls begin to show less confidence in their intellectual abilities than boys, especially in areas perceived as intellectually challenging, such as mathematics. This is despite their having higher grades on average (Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests). This indicates that girls’ perception of their intellectual abilities does not depend on their school performance. These perceptions that arise at an early age can shed light on why women choose certain careers and avoid others.

If we want to contribute to closing the gender gap in science fields, we must start in childhood, by inspiring girls to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and supporting them to achieve their dreams regardless of stereotypes. Every girl deserves to have the opportunity to develop her full potential and make an invaluable contribution to the world of science.

Vice President, Integrity and Compliance at Tec de Monterrey

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