Thirty two percent of the current Brazilian scientific production is made by women. This is the conclusion of a survey conducted by economist and professor at the Fluminense Federal University in Rio de Janeiro, Hildete Pereira De Melo.
De Melo's findings were first published at the end of last year in the magazine Pagu, from Unicamp (University of Campinas).
De Melo worked with the Brazilian database of the Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) for the last eight years. Using a computer software, she reviewed the gender of 83% of the authors and co-authors in the library.
Of those, 32% are women. "Science still bears a male face, but the data from SciELO show the advance in female participation, pointing to a future of equality in the scientific field," Hildete said.
Owing to their dedication to house chores as well as the care of children and the elderly, women, even with a high degree of schooling have less time than men to dedicate to research, which often requires full-time dedication.
Hildete is the author of "Pioneiras da Ciência no Brasil" ("Pioneer Women of Science in Brazil"), published by the Brazilian Society for Advancement of Science (SBPC) in 2006, and in which she listed professionals who left their mark in science.
Among them is researcher Johanna Dí¶bereiner, of Embrapa Agrobiology (Seropédica-RJ), who dedicated 49 years of her life to researching soil microbiology.
The Brazilian program to improve soy, which started in 1964, is one of the areas that have been heavily influenced by Dí¶bereiner's research. Thanks to this work Brazil has become the world's largest soy producer, saving more than US$ 1 billion in nitrogenated fertilizers.