Women in the cognitive sciences

Marie Curie, the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics (1903) and then in Chemistry (1911), has been portrayed in numerous media, films, and books with a common pretext: the challenge it entails for women to make their way into the world of science. Historically in the scientific field, women have moved from exclusion to apartheid. Indeed, not so long ago, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, women were not even able to participate in formal university education. However, if we look at higher education through a discipline, the underrepresentation of women in the sciences is notorious.

Less participation of women in the world of science is a global issue, and Chile is no exception. The data provided by the National Agency for Research and Development (formerly Conicyt) is critical: despite the fact that female participation in university jobs was 53.1% in 2018, female enrollment in scientific professions was only 22%. The gender gap increases in graduate studies and as the academic path progresses, yet their participation in managerial positions is decreasing, with only 16 percent of research and development centers, nationally, being headed by women.

In recent years, various initiatives have emerged to promote, disseminate and strengthen women’s participation in the scientific field. Among them is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a date promoted by UN Women and UNESCO to remind that women and girls play an essential role in science and technology societies and that their participation must be enhanced.

In 2021, the UDD Cognitive Science Laboratory (CogSci Lab) team will join this initiative, to launch the Women in Cognitive Science (WCS) Seminars Circle, with the aim of promoting the visibility of the work of women researchers, both nationally and internationally, in the cognitive sciences field. Our goal is for WCS to publicize the existence of these women, their work, and the circumstances in which it is carried out. During 2021, we seek that all those interested in the field of psychological research find in our free seminars a space where they can learn what it means to be a researcher in the mental sciences, regardless of the gender, race or culture they represent.

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Since we started with the seminars we have summoned over 150 people per session, with great acceptance from a professional and non-academic audience. Our motive is to continue with the seminars and to form a platform for the dissemination and good practices of UDD, to the general interested public.

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