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Woman and Science in Spain
16 February 2019

      Last Monday the International Day of women and girls before Science was celebrated.

Poster of the International Day of women and girls before Science

      But what are the data on the participation of Spanish women in Science and how was that day celebrated?.

      In Spain, 47.7% of scientific and engineering positions are held by women, according to the latest data, published by the European statistical agency (Eurostat), on the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. In a sector traditionally dominated by men, such as science and engineering, this datum places our country above the average of the European Union, where women represent 41% of these positions, in this sector.

      Despite this positive data regarding Europe, in Spain, of the almost 1.4 million engineers and scientists, 52.3% (729,000) are men compared to 47.7% of women (665,600).

      At European level, of the almost 18 million people, who worked in this sector in 2017, 59% were men (10.5 million) and the rest were women (7.1 million). Only in five Member States, there was a majority of women engineers and scientists: Lithuania (57%), Bulgaria and Latvia (both 53%), Portugal (51%) and Denmark (slightly above 50%). However, less than a third of the engineers and scientists were women in Hungary and Luxembourg, (25%), Finland (29%) and Germany (33%).

      Regarding the proportion of women, who dedicate themselves to research in Spain, they only represent 39%. A figure that has remained unchanged since the last 10 years. Thus, the Secretary of State for Universities and R + D + i, Ángeles Heras, has presented it during the presentation of the conclusions of the biennial report "Women Scientific in Figures 2017", according to the agency Servimedia.

Angeles Heras

      The Secretary of State of Universities has also recognised that, in the research career, "gender influences". In the fifth edition of this study, these results "are far from being desirable for science, in Spain, and to consider that full equality has been achieved".

      The "glass ceiling" is also present in our country, a phenomenon that means that few women can reach high positions in the scientific world. Heras has denounced that only 21% of the positions of professors of public universities are women and considers that this figure represents a "clear evidence of vertical segregation of gender". Therefore, the "greatest gender gap", in the universities, continues to be registered in the vice-chancellorships.

      In the last four years, the rector women, in public universities, have gone from 2% to 8%. In the group of universities, the proportion has risen from 10 to 15%. Where there is a certain "balanced" presence of women, it is 48% of the Governing Councils and 48% of the faculty and school governments.

      In the international area, the figures are not much better. According to UNESCO, 28% of the scientific researchers, in the world, are women. In terms of female students worldwide, the enrollment of female students, in information technology and telecommunications, is 3%; in natural sciences, mathematics and statistics they register 5%; and 8% decide to study engineering or studies related to the construction or manufacturing.

      The stereotypes and the lack of historical reference of women scientists are behind the few feminine scientific vocations. Recently, a 2017 study, published in the journal “Science”, shows how gender stereotypes, in science, are acquired at an early age and have an effect on interests, since childhood. The results of this study conclude that, at five years, the youngest did not observe differences, but after six years, the probability that girls perceived a person of their sex as intelligent diminished.

      As for the feminine scientific referents, only 17 women have won the Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Physiology and Medicine, in front of the 599 men who have obtained it. A phenomenon denounced by CSIC research teacher in Science, Technology and Gender, Eulalia Perez Sedeño, who affirms that "there is a lack of presence of women in the histories of science, that not throughout History, because there have been many less than men, because they have agreed to education. Later, in the textbooks, references do not usually appear".

Eulalia Perez Sedeño

      To solve this silence and this unequal distribution, between men and women, several initiatives have been launched this year. On the one hand, during this last week the CSIC has organised more than 200 activities, in their centers in different autonomous communities, between exhibitions, workshops and talks by researchers, in educational centers, not only on genetics or nanotechnologies, but also will explain to younger how they were motivated to become scientists.

Some girls in a science workshop​​​​​​​

      Other initiatives such as the blog "Mujeres con ciencia" (“Women with science”), also aim to disseminate, through the internet, the work of women who have dedicated or devote themselves to science.

      Well, I believe that governments have to push more the work of women before Science.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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Another rich rich dish by a master of the cuisine in Spain
09 February 2019

      Today I would like to talk to you about a dish, which I have not tasted, but which looks very good and maybe you want to try cooking it: "Fideuá (noodles) with vegetables and turkey" —Fideuá is like a paella, but instead of rice, with noodles--, by the Spanish great master , Karlos Arguiñano .

      These are the Ingredients (for 4 people): 400 grams of turkey breast. 300 grams of thick noodles. 1 spring onion. 3 garlic cloves. 10 green beans. 1 Carrot. 1 green pepper. 1 leek. 1 eggplant. Extra virgin olive oil. Salt. Pepper. Parsley.

      For the preparation of this dish, first you have to add salt and pepper to the turkey, cut it into not very large cubes and skip it, in the paella pan, with a little bit of oil. Pass them, to a ceramic pot, with water and a pinch of salt. Stir them, for 15 minutes. Reserve the turkey and the broth separately.

      Toast the noodles, in the paellera (paella pan). It is important to remove them from time to time so that they do not burn. When they are browned, remove them and reserve them on a plate.

      Then, clean and cut the vegetables (garlic, onion, pepper, carrot, leek, beans, eggplant), in small pieces, and poach them, over medium heat, for 5 minutes, in the same paella pan, where you have fried the noodles. Then, put salt.

      Add the noodles to the paella of the vegetables, pour 700 milliliters of broth and cook them for 10 to 12 minutes. When 2 minutes are missing, insert the turkey dice to heat them.

      Put salt and pepper. Turn off the heat, cover the paella pan with a cloth and let rest a few minutes. Finally, serve the result and decorate with a small sprig of parsley.

      Note:  White meat provides less iron than red meat, but also less fat; so that, for a balanced nutrition, it is interesting to combine both meats in our diet.

      And  this must be the result of the dish:

      Well, I hope that you will like this recipe and hope that you can try to cook it; if you do it, please tell me it.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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The calm and the tenderness of an octogenarian Spanish painter
02 February 2019

      In the middle of last December, I watched on television a story about a Spanish painter; and this was a curious news, because it said that this lady, octogenarian, was already famous in social networks. So, I started investigating this case and I would like to share it with you.

      Concha García Zaera is 88 years old and she began to draw, in Paint, because her children gave her a computer, to overcome boredom, and she has become one of the most followed Instagram artists. She sweeps social networks and more than 178,000 followers enjoy their works of art. Such is her success that Disney commissioned, a little over a month ago, a drawing to promote its new film, "Mary Poppins returns".

Concha García Zaera

      Concha, of course, fulfilled and painted in Paint a portrait of the protagonist of the film, Emily Blunt. The result is so amazing that the company itself has shared it on Twitter: "On the occasion of the premiere of “Mary Poppins returns”, the beloved artist, Concha García Zaera, pays homage in her Instagram profile, with her particular version of the poster made in Paint. A work of art practically perfect in everything!. If you liked, December 21 in cinemas", the tweeted.

Version of the poster of Mary Poppins returns

      "She is a character that I have always loved", this digital artist assured, and she says that the company's proposal was a real "challenge", because she had never drawn faces.

      For several weeks she retouched the famous nurse's drawing, until she was "satisfied", with special difficulty in the character's hat and hair.

      The digital artist, delighted with the recognition, thanked Disney for the trust they have placed in her: "It was a great honor that Disney wanted to have me to communicate the premiere (...) I am looking forward to watching it, I have always loved it", she said, on Instagram, before the applause and praise from her fans, whose number grows every day.

      In addition to being a great artist, the Valencian artist is humble and recognises: "I have no imagination", she confesses, although she is very good at copying and inspiration comes from anywhere, a pharmacy bag or any shop, a box in a shop window, a postcard (of which her husband sent her on her work trips), a box of a game or drawings of a magazine.

A painting based on a postcard sent to her by her husband

      She recognises that she is "hunting" and "stealing" images, because when she sees something that she likes, she takes a photo and then prints it, she draws a grid and copies it on her computer.

      This facility for copying has allowed her to draw birds, deer, fish or cats, but also lighthouses, the Valencian beach of El Saler, the Greek island of Santorini or Andalusian nooks, of China or of her hometown, such as the Trinity Bridge, the Central Market, the Lonja (Market, a warehouse for keeping fish) or the Cathedral.

A small deer

A lighthouse on the background

The Greek island of Santorini​​​​​​​

An Andalusian nook

A nook of China​​​​​​​

The Trinity Bridge in Valencia​​​​​​​

The Cathedral of Valencia in the background​​​​​​​

      She has special affection to some drawings that show the image of her grandmother's village, Vall de Almonacid, in the Sierra de Espadán (Castellón, east of Spain), where she has spent all her summers and some of which skims the 54,000 "like".

Vall de Almonacid​​​​​​​

      She remembers how "expensive" is which she has called "Lisboon" and that she copies a postcard that her daughter brought her from the Portuguese capital with the tram and with "many small balconies, houses and pots".

The tram of Lisboon​​​​​​​

      Her fondness for drawing is "lifelong", but in general she always did it with pens in a pad; but more than a decade ago, she started going to the Popular University of Valencia and became interested in painting in oil, until her husband fell ill and she left it to take care of him   --because her husband was bothered by the smell of oil-- .

      "At home, I was sovereign bored and, as I complained, my children bought me a computer", she recalls, although she emphasises that it was not for drawing but that she used it to write her memoirs, keep the housekeeping accounts and for her studies of General Culture.

      But one day, she says, to draw a small house and some clouds occurred to her, "a nonsense", that attracted her a lot and, the next day, she improved it with other details and dedicated time and became interested: "And until today".

      She argues that to draw, in Paint, you need "patience, a lot of love and enjoy doing it" and she adds: "And I keep it very often because sometimes, after days with a drawing, it has been erased".

      She detracts from what she does, because It is something that she enjoys and likes, but the insistence of her granddaughters, to share them, led her to create an account on Instagram, that exceeds 178,000 followers and that she herself manages, uploading her drawings and answering all those who praise her creations.

      She explains that she was "very scared" when her account began to rise unchecked and every day she received "thousands of messages", but now she says she knows almost all her followers by her username and that she tries to answer everyone.

      The last June-2018, the Popular University of Valencia, on the occasion of the Cultural Week of the end of the course, exhibited the works of Concha, who was a student of the Center of Nou Moles, of this University, 15 years ago.

Concha in her Exhibition​​​​​​​

      Concha has been defined, by her teachers of drawing and painting, as a naive artist and also an example of overcoming, in the adversity.

      The experience has revealed, in the words of her teachers, "a pure naive artist". In it, we find "the most genuine and well understood naif", says her Drawing and Painting teacher, Lalo Kubala. "The naif has bad press, because there is a lot of bad naive, but the work of Concha is quality naif, vital works, with a magnificent light, a look and a personal framing, that identifies them, as her works in oil had it".

      I want to emphasise the simplicity and tenderness of this lady, that together with her art, make anyone fall in love with her, in social networks.

      Congratulations to all the elderly people, who do not let themselves be intimidated by the passage of time, and have challenges to life.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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