January 21, 2021

"Only 20% of the authors of the last IPCC report were women"

"Only 20% of the authors of the last IPCC report were women"


Women are the most affected by global climate change and those who have less representation not only in the organs of power, but also in the IPCC. On the occasion of the Women's Day that is celebrated tomorrow, we interview four women leaders in the fight against climate change to make visible the challenges and difficulties they face as they are scientific.

"One of the most important difficulties is motherhood, which kills enough scientists, killing their careers because of how the system is made. Hence, many scientists wait until they are almost 40 years old to have children. Changes in politics are necessary and then the change of mentality will come, "explains Anna Cabré, an expert in big data, who has been investigating the large-scale terrestrial climate for seven years, and which is one of the five selected for the next edition 2019 of the female leadership program Homeward Bound, sponsored by Acciona.

This is because "in the scientific career it is very hard to be six months off or one year out, because it is a sector in which you have to be on foot," adds Marga Gual, PhD in Biomedical Sciences. Currently he directs different projects for the Center for Scientific Diplomacy of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Another great barrier is the bias of being a woman. "There is a lot of bias when you review articles or scholarships. The fact of being a scientific woman is not evaluated as if you are a man. You see it when you receive comments back from an article. On many occasions the reviewers put this scientist despite being a woman has made a great effort, but … In addition, women get less scholarships. In fact, blind evaluations have shown that the result of scientists and scientists is the same and instead when you know the gender we usually get worse stops. Has no sense. This bias is leaving women behind who do not reach positions of responsibility, "says Blanca Bernal, who currently works at Winrock International (Washington DC) applying concepts and scientific advances to practical strategies of sustainable development.

It is not a subjective impression. "In 2013, Yale University demonstrated the implicit bias after sending the same Curriculum Vitae in some cases saying it was John's and Jennifer's other. Then they did a second round sending the CV without a name. The anómino evaluated it equally. When I said the CV, it was John's, it was very good, Jennifer's was not so good, "recalls Marga Gual.

An example of this discrimination for the mere fact of being a woman is the IPCC itself. "Before 1990, the number of women scientists as authors of IPCC articles was less than 5%. In the last report of 2018, which warned that there was urgent action, they were just over 20% and the goal is to reach 25% in the next report, " precise Marga. But despite the improvement is still a very low percentage because "the experts," he continues, "already exist, but they are not in the positions or have the access or recognition necessary to be one of those authors, and it is not for lack of qualified women. "

"The incorporation of women on all scales is lacking. In the so-called southern countries, the poorest are not even in any kind of decision, "says Cristina Otano, senior operations officer in the World Bank's climate change department, where she leads the climate resilience program associated with the Global Fund. Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery, which promotes the incorporation of climate and disaster risks in the investment portfolio to ensure its sustainability. Something that draws attention because "when you think about natural disasters women are the most affected. For example, in Southeast Asia, every time a natural disaster occurs, more women die than men because of mobility problems, either because they can not swim or float because the type of clothing they wear is very heavy, due to the restrictions they have. like not being able to run or they can not leave the house without a man or because most of them are those who stay at home taking care of their relatives ".

All of them have participated today in a meeting of women scientific leaders promoted by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities in collaboration with the Secretary of State for Equality, the Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology.

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