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Technology equality: Empowering and giving visibility to girls in robotics

Photograph credit: Studio Quantity One (SNO)

On March 8, Worldwide Ladies’s Day (IWD) we rejoice the political, socioeconomic and cultural achievements of girls and the ladies proper’s motion in the direction of gender equality. “While the social and political rights of girls are higher in some locations than others, there isn’t a nation the place gender equality has been achieved” says Mary Evans, professor on the London College of Economics and Political Science in her guide “The persistence of gender inequality” (Polity Press 2017). In 2022 this case has not modified both globally or on the European stage as indicated within the EU Gender Equality index for 2020 the place the common of the EU is 67.4% and the utmost is Sweden with 83.8%. Though there was a transparent dedication from the European Union on gender equality (specifically in innovation and science), there are nonetheless structural types of inequality that have to be challenged and altered. It’s not the purpose of this text to analyse or touch upon these, however to point out what’s being achieved and is accessible, particularly within the European Union, for us to contribute as people and as a neighborhood in the direction of gender equality within the area of robotics.

Any journey begins with a primary step, so I requested Maja Hadziselimovic, member of the Board of Administrators of euRobotics and lively United Nations (UN) Technology Equality champion of girls and women in STEM, how an individual (irrespective of the gender) can contribute to gender equality. She advised me “There are three actions you’ll be able to take to be a part of Technology Equality: Empower girls and women in science; elevate consciousness about gender equality and lift the visibility of girls in science”. So, let’s discover totally different actions linked to these actions.

Maja Hadziselimovic (Photograph Credit: Marijana Bicvic / UN Ladies)

Empower girls

Though inequalities nonetheless exist, the EU has a well-established regulatory framework on gender equality and has made important progress during the last many years. In March 2020, the European Fee printed the EU Gender Equality Technique for 2020-2025, setting out their dedication in the direction of “a Union the place men and women, women and boys, in all their variety, are free to pursue their chosen path in life, have equal alternatives to thrive, and might equally take part in and lead our European society.”

Thus, it isn’t stunning that the EC is making an eligibility criterion for all public our bodies, larger schooling establishments and analysis organisations to have a Gender Equality Plan (GEP) so as to take part in Horizon Europe. These on the lookout for additional info on GEPs, can check out the work of EU-H2020 venture SPEAR (Supporting and Implementing Plans for Gender Equality in Academia and Analysis) which supplies the SPEAR’s compass information, that can assist you draft and implement gender equality measures in your Analysis Performing Organisation (RPO); and GEARING ROLES: Gender Equality Actions in Analysis Establishments to traNsform Gender ROLES with examples of implementation of GEPs in universities and analysis organisations, as a result of making certain efficient implementation and avoiding resistance is just not all the time straightforward.

Empowering girls may also be achieved outdoors the EC sphere, at a nationwide or native stage. That is the case with the work of Ana-Maria Stancu, CEO of Bucharest Robots, founding father of the affiliation E-Civis, and member of the Board of Administrators of euRobotics. She has a private {and professional} mission to empower girls and women within the area of robotics in Romania: “One of many hashtags we’re utilizing in our work in Romania is #vinrobotii (robots are coming). We aren’t utilizing this as a risk, however as a reminder that the robots are right here and can develop additional. To date, what I can see in my day-to-day work is that girls are usually perceived as outsiders on this business. Each time I discuss to a possible shopper or public authority, the final dialogue is led by me, however the minute they’ve a technical query, they unconsciously flip to my male colleagues. The primary downside I see is that the majority of them do that unintentionally – which makes it much more problematic. It signifies that this notion is deeply rooted in folks’s minds.” This in all probability sounds acquainted to you and gender bias might be discovered in several fields. A superb learn on this regard is the guide of “Invisible Ladies” (Chatto & Windus 2019) by Caroline Criado Perez.

Ana-Maria Stancu (Photograph Credit: Scuola di Robotica)

Ana-Maria underlines how is vital to be persistent in bringing girls into the sphere of robotics: “There is no such thing as a doubt that the robotics business will see an incredible progress within the very close to future and can want plenty of specialists. We’ve got to make it possible for this improvement won’t embrace solely males however may also replicate the exercise of girls. I consider at the present time – Worldwide Ladies’s Day – ought to be a reminder that we’ve got to do extra for extra girls in technical fields like robotics.”

To ensure girls are usually not left behind within the robotics business, Ana -Maria promotes robotics lessons to all youngsters and encourages women to take part. The E-Civis affiliation additionally organises robotics and programming summer time colleges only for women, to allow them to study in a pressure-free atmosphere. From her expertise in instructing programming and robotics in public colleges in rural areas, she has little question that “women are as as boys on this area. Each baby loves robots! Let’s use this love to show and encourage all of them to construct them!”

Programming summer time faculty for ladies by E-Civis (Photograph credit: E-Civis)

For many who would not have the time or alternative to be concerned in mentorship or for this stage of dedication, there’s one exercise that each one of us can do in our on a regular basis life, that is to combat micro-aggressions, right unconscious bias, and keep away from what Rebecca Solnit calls “mansplaining” in her guide “Males Clarify Issues To Me” (Haymarket Books, 2014), and supply a sexist-free office. A simple and hilarious learn for men and women that provides totally different instruments to combat sexism within the office is “Feminist Struggle Membership” by Jessica Bennet (Harper Wave, 2016). In fact, there’s a multitude of fantastic analysis papers, coverage stories and books you’ll be able to learn, and simply having a espresso and listening to or supporting your feminine colleagues might be already of nice assist.

In case you are a member of euRobotics, I would really like you to encourage your feminine colleagues or staff to current themselves as candidates for the subsequent elections. Our analysis board is screaming for some girls energy!

Increase consciousness on gender equality

Integrating the gender dimension in analysis ensures that researchers query gender norms and stereotypes and handle the evolving wants and social roles of men and women. It’s a matter of bettering scientific excellence and growing the variety of girls in science, analysis and innovation. Networks and portals born as FP7 and Horizon 2020 initiatives, are nonetheless in place these days to boost consciousness on gender equality, present coaching and share information. That is the case of GENDERACTION, GE Academy: Gender Equality Academy, GENDER-NET PLUS and GENPORT.

Since 2013, the European Fee publishes each three years the “She Figures” report that displays the state of gender equality in analysis and innovation in Europe. The ERA Progress report additionally displays the implementation of the goals set by the EC: gender equality in scientific careers, gender stability in determination making and integration of the gender dimension in R&I.

As a person you’ll be able to publicly present your help to gender equality. You possibly can be part of the Ladies’s Day march in your metropolis or elevate consciousness in your social media or your office. You possibly can obtain girls’s rights posters and sq. pictures by Studio Quantity One totally free right here. Be a part of the wave of change at this time.

Increase visibility of girls in science

In 2014 a brand new grassroots neighborhood was began to help girls in robotics internationally – the Ladies in Robotics community. Since 2020, the community based by Andra Keay and Sabine Hauert has grown exponentially and turn into a non-profit organisation within the U.S. This world neighborhood helps girls working (or considering working) within the area of robotics. Their actions embrace native networking occasions, outreach, schooling, mentoring and the promotion of optimistic position fashions in robotics. In addition they publish yearly the “listing of girls in robotics it is advisable to know” on Ada Lovelace Day (13 October). Why to not be part of the community at this time?

On Worldwide Ladies’s Day (8 March) The European Fee celebrates the #EUWomen4future marketing campaign and the EU Prize for Ladies Innovators with a seminar co-hosted by Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and President Roberta Metsola. The occasion highlights girls’s skilled achievements in tradition, schooling, sport and science. You possibly can attend the occasion on-line right here and nonetheless use the hashtag.

Ladies in Robotics publication on Ada Lovelace’s Day. (Photograph credit score: Ladies in Robotics)

This text exhibits a peak of a protracted listing of initiatives, actions and work regarding gender equality within the space of science and expertise (primarily within the EU), and a few particularly in robotics. We’re in a interval of adjustments, of “Me too”, of breaking ceilings and structural inequality, of constructing the long run we wish for our sisters, our daughters, our companions, and most vital of all, for ourselves. Don’t be afraid to be difficult, don’t be afraid to be loud.


Marta Palau Franco
is an electronics engineer, oceanographer and venture officer at euRobotics aisbl.

Marta Palau Franco
is an electronics engineer, oceanographer and venture officer at euRobotics aisbl.

euRobotics AISBL
is a Brussels primarily based worldwide non-profit affiliation for all stakeholders in European robotics.

euRobotics AISBL
is a Brussels primarily based worldwide non-profit affiliation for all stakeholders in European robotics.



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