I am number 243

In September of 2016, 17 mentors, 11 schools and around 200 girls embarked on a pioneer project in Euskadi, one of those projects designed on a paper napkin and that holds fundamental values and ideas. Today, I bring you an entrepreneurial initiative of the educational area, which is born at the University of Deusto, guided by Andoni Eguiluz and Lorena Fernández, professor-researcher and Director of Digital Identity of the University of Deusto, respectively.

Do you know which project I’m talking about? I’ll give you a hint: inspire.

The project I’m referring to is called INSPIRA and it’s promoted by the research team of the Engineering Faculty of de University of Deusto, Deusto LearningLab, managed by Mariluz Guenaga.

1 year after launching the project, only on their second edition, INSPIRA already has:

This initiative has become an example project whose goal is to encourage the scientific-technical vocations, especially among girls in terms of actions of awareness and orientation. The motives that make it so special are many:

  • It uses the team mentoring technique
  • They promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics)
  • It’s aimed to primary-school students
  • The facilitators are 104 professional women of the researching, science and technology world who develop their professional activity in different areas (academic, corporate, researching, managing, etc.) and who voluntarily play the role of mentors.

Among the goals of the project are to help the girls to:

  • remove doubts and objections about science and technology careers,
  • discover the STEAM professions,
  • clarify their motivations and
  • strengthen their self-esteem.

All of that with the idea that in a near future, and if they want to, they can start their professional path in the studies related to science and technology. Because as Mª Luz Guenaga told me a few days ago:

“We want they choose freely what they want to do”

From INSPIRA they want to make it as clear as possible that the fact that less women than men choose a technological career, less women than men work in the scientific/technical world, more women than men get to less important positions and receive lower salaries in positions of equal importance IS NOT due to a lesser taste, less training, a lower vocation or a lower performance BUT:

There are the social, cultural and educational factors that empower, recognize and motivate less women than men. There are the stereotypes, the socialization processes, the gender roles, the hidden machismo with which we build education and society that make women believe they are less capable and less valued, socially and economically. 

WE MUST FIGHT AGAINST IT. RIGHT NOW!!!

INSPIRA already counts on the collaboration of Innobasque and Elhuyar Fundazioa and funding from the three provincial governments: BizkaiaGipuzkoa and Álava in addition to BBK. And not only that, since the team launched the Manifiesto INSPIRA, they are already 265 people and organizations (maybe more while I’m writing this post) who have signed it. With this signature we have committed to work actively for the equality between women and men in the scientific-technical area and to open spaces for girls and women in science and technology through, at least, 7 lines of action:

  1. To think and revise the false belief that there’s already equality.
  2. To admit publicly that women and men have the same capacities, rights and responsibilities, and that, therefore, we deserve the same recognition.
  3. To share the consequences of the existing lack of equality, and to work in order to make society aware of the necessity of taking positive actions to avoid them, promoting a responsible and different scientific/technological system.
  4. To make historical and actual scientist and technologist women visible, placing value on their work and creating new references.
  5. To reverse social stereotypes, demystifying beliefs about gender roles, making information about science and technology careers easier, and making known the wide range of professional possibilities of STEAM.
  6. To favor a social and educational context where girls are seen encouraged, capable and recognized so they can choose their future without conditioning.
  7. To contribute to the empowering of women.

My signature number is 243. I admit that I would have been glad to be more up on the list; and you, what number are you?

This week I encourage you to sign the INSPIRA manifest and act accordingly.

Will you tell me your number?

Thank you, in any case, for reading this post and betting on the entrepreneurship in any of its aspects.

Translated by María Ubierna Quintanilla and supervised by Arantza Arruti.

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