The 1st Forum on Women in the Technology Field began this week in the city of São Luis, in the state of Maranhão, Brazil. The Forum proposes to change society’s vision of engineering by enhancing awareness about women’s participation in the technological sphere and assigning the hard sciences a central role in the process of social inclusion.
“It is engineering, architecture, and agronomy that builds houses, projects bikelanes, and takes care of the Amazon. And Brazil needs these technological areas for its social development,” says the organizer of the Forum, Deodete Packer, a mechanical engineer.
She underscores that women were responsible for projects that placed Brazil among the countries in which high technology is developed, but they ended up not receiving the recognition they deserved.
“Victória Rossetti, who is an agronomical engineer, was the most important force behind Brazil’s Genome project. But she lives in the countryside and loves the land, and few people know who she is,” Packer affirms.
This year, all the categories of the National Council of Scientific and Technological Development’s(CNPq) Young Scientist award were won by women.
Federal Deputy Vanessa Graziotin said earlier this year that a society in which women’s space will be equal to men’s is still a long way off.
“Women are half the Brazilian population and a little more than half the voters; nevertheless, in the Chamber of Deputies, they occupy slightly more than 8% of the seats,” she affirmed.
Graziotin presided the international seminar “Women on the road to power,” which was held in the Chamber of Deputies, in Brasília.
The purpose of the meeting was to examine women’s experiences involving access to power in Brazil, Chile, Sweden, and Mexico.
The seminar was an opportunity to discuss and formulate proposals designed to foster policies enabling women to participate in the places where decisions are made in Brazil.
Delegations from various countries, including Chile, Mexico, Sweden, Hungary, Spain, and Costa Rica, participated.
A study by the Applied Economics Research Institute (Ipea) reveals that 72% of working women in Brazil exercise activities that require little qualification and receive salaries that average 40% less than men’s.
In addition, women bear a double work load and, frequently, sole responsibility for rearing their offspring. In Brazilian metropolitan areas, according to the Ipea, 25% of the families are headed by women.
According to data from the Parliamentary Union on the composition of legislatures (both Chamber and Senate) around the world, females make up nearly 40% of the lawmakers in the Scandanavian countries, while in South, Central, and North America, this percentage is still under 18%.
In the Deputy’s opinion, given the fragile representation of women in the Chamber of Deputies, there is a need for them to organize. “There is no democratic society without a more effective participation by women,” she asserted.