Panamanian women researchers claimed on Monday more space and better public policies to address the gender gap in the scientific world within the frame of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
The director of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Panama, Ivonne Torres, told to Acan-Efe that women represent only 25% of the scientific community in the country, and that currently only 7% of girls want to study a degree related to STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
"This day mainly seeks to open the eyes of girls and eliminate social stereotypes that push them to study subjects that have nothing to do with science", Torres said.
The scientist, who is part of "Science in Panama", a movement that emerged in 2016 to give voice to the scientific community of the country, was one of the organizers of a symposium on the subject held on Monday in the Panamanian capital.
The anthropologist of the University of Panama Eugenia Rodríguez denounced meanwhile that the figures of participation of women in science are still low, although they have improved in recent years, but said they are especially "alarming" in the posts of management of scientific institutions.
"Women are carrying a series of costs behind them in order to be in science and we are underrepresented in the hierarchy of science", Rodríguez explained.
"Panama is not the worst country in the region in terms of equity, but not because there have been public policies, there are hardly any", she added.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), currently less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women.
Worldwide, enrollment of female students is particularly low in information and communications technology (ICT), with 3%; natural sciences, mathematics and statistics, with 5%; and in engineering, manufacturing and construction, with 8%, according to the agency. ç