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Women in science, conversation with Catalonia Ambassador Dr Teresa Mogas

Dr Teresa Mogas Amorós is professor at Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, Veterinary Faculty of Autonomous University of Barcelona, and Special Graduate Faculty of Ontario Veterinary College at University of Guelph (Canada). Mogas Amorós is Ambassador of the Catalunya Convention Bureau and Board secreatary of the Association of Embryo Technology in Europe (AETE)


Dr Teresa Mogas organised the 32nd Scientific Meeting in 2016. What lessons did you learn from leading an international event of these characteristics?

I realised the importance of being very clear about the initial approach to how you want to organise a conference in order for it to run smoothly. The potential expectations and needs that conference speakers, participants and also sponsors may have during the event must be taken into account from the very beginning. It is therefore extremely important to have a good team of people on the local organising committee as well as the help of a conference promotion agency so that everyone can jointly decide the best options on how to organise the various activities from both a scientific and social perspective.


What attributes would you highlight about Barcelona and Catalonia as conference venues?

Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in Europe for both tourists travelling for pleasure and people arriving for conferences, meetings or all manner of professional events. Barcelona is a city worth visiting, as is the rest of Catalonia, for various reasons and these include its architecture, climate, gastronomy, good transport links, range of hotels and also the charm and friendliness of its inhabitants. But these are not the only reasons. Its ability to host all manner of events and activities makes it a very attractive city for the world of culture and business. Apart from the event per se, organising a conference in Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia is a guarantee for its organisers and also for the enjoyment of the people attending.


How should future conferences be considered in order to promote gender equality in science and provide more visibility to the strategic role of women scientists?

Scientific associations have made an effort to seek gender parity among their members for both keynote presentations and brief talks. There are many women working in research and although they are not very well known at a social level, they are indeed the ones working daily and generating results in their laboratories. We must avoid the traditional cronyism of these scientific encounters, as this will undoubtedly make them more enriching.


What would you highlight about Catalonia when asked about the pairing of women and science?

The scientific field in health issues has traditionally had a special economic importance in Catalonia. It is also well known that this field is especially feminised in Europe, Spain and Catalonia. In other words, there are more women researching on these topics than men. Despite this situation, when prizes are awarded or prominent scientists are appointed, male names always appear. This is what is called the “Matilda effect”, or the invisibility of women’s work. Science is cooperation. Science is created in working groups. But the media ends up simplifying it and only puts the focus on one person, who usually happens to be a man.


How has the situation of women in the world of research evolved in your more than 25 years of research excellence?

The situation of women in the world of research has evolved a lot over the last 25 years as a result of the substantial incorporation of women into the world of research and we hope this trend will continue in the future. Even though there are increasingly more women leading research teams, departments and faculties in my university, and we have even had two women rectors, there is still a lack of parity in the scientific field. Women have for years been the majority of the university population at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, but the presence of women is lower in the higher categories of professional careers, as is the percentage of women who manage to fill positions of influence and management in these institutions.


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