Founding member of the Association of Women Researchers and Technologists (AMIT) and vice-president from 2001 to 2006, member of the Chair-Network for Women, Science and Technology in Latin-America (from October 2005), General Director of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) from 2006 to 2008… This is just a little part of the information we can find in Eulalia Pérez’s CV. She holds a degree in Philosophy and Literature from the Autonomous University of Madrid. More than a hundred books and articles came from her pen or keyboard. La Ley de la Ciencia veinte años después: ¿dónde estaban las mujeres? (The Law of Science twenty years later: where were the women?) or Mujer y ciencia. La situación de las mujeres investigadoras en el sistema español de ciencia y tecnología (Women and science. The situation of women researchers in the Spanish science and technology system) are a couple of examples of her bibliographical production.
Eulalia Pérez found in the University of Cambridge, with professor Geoffrey Lloyd, the way to make her work fit her feminist inquisitiveness. After reading the thesis on the history of Greek astronomy, Eulalia started studying about medicine, and particularly the question of women authorship. «Women in Greece were considered minors, they had no authority. But as doctors could not observe, auscultate or touch them, they had to believe what women or intermediaries told them – she explains. I started there, and began to see there were many more women than science history would make us believe.»
When they ask us about scientists or researchers, the first names that come to mind are often men. Have there not been women in science? Was their name hidden?
And do women currently enjoy more visibility or are they still invisible?
Is there a key point in history when we can start talking about the incorporation of women into science?
Which forms of gender discrimination do we observe in the science and research system?
Is this what concepts such as the «glass ceiling» or the «sticky floor»1 mean?
Are women worse in science than in other working environments?
How would you rank the role of the media in perpetuating or changing these inequalities?
«It is necessary, effectively, a normative regulation in order to fight enduring discriminatory manifestations, be they direct or indirect, of a gender base and promote real equality between women and men, with the removal of obstacles and the social stereotypes that prevent us from achieving it.» This is one of the motives explained in the Equality Law passed in Spain seven years ago, in March 2007. Do you think the measures set out by this law were enough?
As a conclusion to the Science Law twenty years later, you and Paloma Alcalá said «only treating the unequal unequally, we will be able to make them equal». Is this a bid for positive discrimination?
What other changes would you suggest in order to improve the relation between women and science?
Let’s travel forward in time, to the year 2034, twenty years from now. If we repeated this interview then, do you think you would answer similarly? Or do you think the future situation of women in the science system will have improved?
1. La socióloga Mabel Burin define el concepto de «suelo pegajoso» como «inercia que mantiene a tantas mujeres inmovilizadas en su puesto de trabajo, atrapadas en la base de la pirámide económica, sin fuerzas para enfrontarse con lo nuevo y desafiar el sistema.» (Go back)
Íngrid Lafita. Journalist (València).
«There are somen scientists, but they are still made invisible»
«I would rather talk about a glass box, instead of a glass ceiling, because we are also limited sideways»
«If you don’t introduce quotas you are destroying the merit principle»
«I think in twenty years I would answer just the same, or even worse»