The other Marie Curie

"Look, maybe better to send you an index with the names of the researchers because they are difficult to write, right?" Says Sandra Uve, accelerated illustrator. And the next day there is a new mail in the inbox. The list of the associate is long: there is Hedy Lamarr, the inventor of the first wireless communications system; Ángela Ruiz Robles, the creator of the first e-book in history; Gertrude Elion, the pharmacologist who developed the first leukemia treatment … All you need to look at is to make sure that no name is more inclined to write than Stephen Hawking, Johannes Kepler and Louis Pasteur, and that, despite that history has buried its names, the contributions of these women are part of our lives.

To rescue all these women from anonymity, and face them, Sandra Valencia, the real name of the sketcher of Terrassa, portrayed some of them for the exhibition Super women, super inventors, which now runs the Science Week. It will be at the Biblioteca Canyadó and Casagemes – Joan Argenté, in Badalona, ​​until November 26. "Girls need to have references from women who believed in their ideas: that's how vocations arouse," explains the illustrator the next day, calmer. He says that it is about "re-learning" what we have read, seen on television and heard at home.

One of the spaces where this lack of female examples is more visible is in the classrooms of the universities. The squares of the most technical races continue to occupy them. And the case of engineering careers is one of the most alarming: only one in four students is a woman. However, there are also traditionally male degrees – such as pure mathematics – in which women are gaining presence. Another vallesana, cerdanyolenca Marina Garrote, has for eight years now decided to direct her professional future to this branch of numbers. Still remember that it was not an easy choice. "When you are choosing a career, motivation is not enough. If I had not met Mercè or Isabel surely I would not have done the step, "he explains as a PhD student at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. "It's very difficult to project your future without seeing girls like you doing," he adds. Isabel is, in fact, Isabel Gutiérrez, a teacher of mathematics at the institute. And Mercè, Mercè Peris, a partner of the town greater than her, also mathematical. Mathematical women who have gone through history would still take months to meet them.

In order to try to turn the situation from below, however, these days Garrote is preparing a talk about his work – he develops algebraic techniques that serve to rebuild the genetic relationships between the species – and will be taught in various institutes of Barcelona in the coming weeks. This is an activity that belongs to the STEM Con Tu program, which was conceived by the Association of Women Researchers and Technologists in Catalonia and that wants to show models of women scientists to high school Catalan students as other American universities do. .

In the sessions with the future colleagues, the ambassadors – that's how the girls, like her, have joined the initiative, explain their research, but also the obstacles they encounter in her day by day because of being women. "My experience tells me that in private companies you are having more problems of this type: if you are a woman (and a young person) it costs much more to make your voice heard and often you just start listening when the group checks that the solutions that you propose are good, "says Garrote, who recognizes that he has never denounced these discrimination at the time.

But the situation in the offices of public research centers is also not easy for them. In the department of marine biology and oceanography of the Institute of Sciences of the Sea, researcher Cèlia Marrasé works, who, despite everything, recognizes that the #MeToo and the demonstrations on March 8 have also removed awareness among test tubes. "Talking about these issues helps you to detect sexist comments that even before made you funny!" He exclaims. Marrasé also warns, however, that building a career as a researcher is still more difficult for women. One of the reasons, he explains, is that the time of the scholarships and the doctorates coincides with the time of having children, and the terms of the aid are very marked: "If the man wants to be a father he asks for it, but the woman does not. " It is estimated that in Spanish public universities up to four out of five university professors are men.

In 1989, Marrasé made his luggage to settle in Massachusetts, and did it with his little daughter. He says he encourages all women to do it. Your recipe to survive in this world and make it better is this: do what you love, organize yourself well, verbalize the offense – "The first times you will be told that you are very sensitive, but then they will change your attitude "- And, as much as you can, it goes out and gives your face.

You may want to know that the illustration that will lead the S exhibition uper women, super inventors Sandra Grape is the face of a Catalan researcher. The one that half smiles with the eyes closed is Cristina Casadevall, who developed a recycled material that in the future could be the sustainable substitute for wood.

A SMALL SHOW OF THE DESIGNS OF ACTIVITIES

Biotech Trivial. The classic board game with questions from the field of biotechnology to test students | November 13 at 08:30 p.m. in Vic

Scientific roots. The spectacle ' Big Van ', monologues focused on curiosities and scientific news topics | November 15 at 7:30 p.m. at La Canonja (Tarragona)

Equip our house. A workshop for students to "buy" household appliances through energy tests | November 12 and 16 at 9.45 h in Barcelona

The enigma of physicist Feynman. An 'escape room' to find the Feynman report concealed by NASA | November 21 at 11 am and 5:30 p.m. in Manresa

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