Physics is very masculine, says the 1st President of the entity – 07/07/2021 – Science

In 2021 there is something new to celebrate on National Science Day, which is celebrated this Thursday (8). The SBF (Brazilian Society for Physics) had never elected a president in its 55 years of existence until it elected Débora Peres Menezes, who took office on July 16.

For the professor at UFSC (Federal University of Santa Catarina), the physics community is very masculine and since more than 70% of the partners are men, it is natural for them to apply to the institution.

“It has an effect that cuts women off from career advancement, which is very strong in structurally sexist countries like Brazil. Many give up, do not feel like exposing themselves or competing, ”says Débora.

According to the professor, there is generally a low proportion of women in science. The best way to resolve the situation would be to entice women into the so-called “hard” areas known as the “tribe”: science, technology, engineering, math (science, technology, engineering, or math in English).

“Out of 100 graduates, only 4 are in these fields and of those 4, only 1 is a woman,” she explains. “Many study law or business administration and only a few go into mathematical professions.”

The solution, according to the São Paulo native, is to nurture female interest in elementary school when teachers can bring science into their everyday life with activities like a paper airplane or a discussion on reflection from a mirror. Girls need to feel welcome to them.

The professor said the SER did a good job for society by updating its extensive archive of secondary and college classes, organizing the Physics Olympiad, and checking information and news. What it lacks is the dissemination of science to the general public, with an emphasis on social networks.

For example, she remembers the Carolina Nemes Award, which is aimed at researchers at the beginning of their careers. “There is a Brazilian who lives in the USA and pays a sum of money. We want to make the existence of these awards more visible, ”he says.

The publication of her studies has been a passion of Débora Menezes for many years. She ran a science museum at UFSC and even managed to get a large piece of land in Florianópolis to build another. Management conflicts at the university, however, led to the end of the project and thus to the lack of motivation on the part of the teachers.

What drove his return to the spread of science was the denial and misogyny he has witnessed lately. “I thought about doing something that values ​​the work of women and shows that we have the same working and intellectual conditions as men, even when society tries to make us invisible.”

The Women in Science channel appeared on YouTube with short videos on current topics and their application in everyday life, always presented by researchers.

However, they are shocked by denial and misogyny. “I can’t think of anything worse. [Jair Bolsonaro] It assumes that science is in the way. This mask and chloroquine discourse is a denial of a level I’ve never seen before, ”he says.

The professor names at least three of her students who recently left the country after science ran out of funds. But she keeps hope. “Let’s see if we can reverse the sign of the derivative of the curve. It comes down and let’s see if it starts to rise at some point. “

Another point that cheers them up is the new management of the SER and their composition, since half of the board consists of women – Susana Souza Lalic and Katemari Diogo da Rosa are also there. “I hope the girls see that they can get there, that the black girls see that there is a director.” [Katemari] with a trajectory that enabled her to take that position. It’s a very strong image. “

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