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Much has been said over the last few years about the issues faced by women in the STEM fields. Campaigns such as the #MeToo movement have made evident the frequency with which women are subject of sexual harassment and other types of inappropriate behaviours in diverse work environments; academia is, unfortunately one of them. However, these problems are far from being the only ones affecting women’s scientific activities. An increasing number of studies have recently shown how women tend to be discriminated against in aspects which appear essential to the academic endeavour, such as participation in research projects, co-authorship in peer-reviewed publications, establishment and maintenance of collaborative networks, representation in expert panels and editorial boards, acknowledgement of previous findings (i.e., citations), attendance to scientific meetings, assessments of ideas and achievements, etc. These worrying trends have been exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, based on a combination of personal experiences and a literature review, I discuss the ways in which these issues manifest themselves in different regions of the world. I place special emphasis on Latin America, a region whose characteristic cultural patterns make it difficult to implement measures that mitigate the main issues but that, interestingly, does not seem to be in a particular disadvantageous place in certain key aspects. I suggest a series of steps that, if taken, would allow a greater and better participation of Latin American women in scientific activities; and conclude that, in order to attack the roots of the issues affecting women’s participation and true inclusion in academia, it is necessary to promote, simultaneously, gradual changes in the cultural aspects inherent to each region.

Keywords:

Latin America, implicit bias, diversity, inclusion, machismo, inclusivity, glass ceiling

Bibiana Rojas

Presentation within symposium:

S-7 Overcoming implicit bias in the tropical science community for better conservation research and practice

Challenges to guaranteeing inclusion and equity to women in science: An intercultural approach with emphasis on Latin America

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