100 women for science

8th March 2017

On International Women’s Day, the Bracco Foundation presents the book that tells one hundred extraordinary scientists’ stories.

For the Bracco Group's 90th anniversary, Diana Bracco wanted a special 8th of March; an International Women's Day dedicated to 100 female voices of science gathered, thanks to the Bracco Foundation, in a unique book. It is captivating storytelling, rich with achievements and defeats, emotions, tenacity and struggles against prejudice, all told firsthand. The work was presented at an event sponsored by the City of Milan and hosted by Maria Concetta Mattei of TG2, during which scientists, important figures as the Europarliamentarian Patrizia Toia, Vice Mayor and Councillor of Education for the City of Milan Anna Scavuzzo, the prefect of Milan Luciana Lamorgese, and journalists Mikol Belluzzi (Panorama), Francesca Cerati (Sole24Ore), Pier Luigi Vercesi (Corriere della Sera) and Giovanni Bignami (La Repubblica scientist and editorialist) conversed.

"On the occasion of the publication of this book," stated Diana Bracco, President of the Bracco Foundation, "I wish to launch a heartfelt appeal to the youngest girls: do not ever accept the bias which would claim that women are less suited to technical-scientific studies and their related professions. Female students in scientific fields, which are fortunately growing in number, are very able and are graduating with excellent grades, and businesses are looking solely at those. At Bracco, for instance, female researchers today outnumber male researchers. Therefore, young women, forge your role in society with confidence, courage, determination and generosity."

Various research projects on informational outlets continue to reveal that women are rarely interviewed as experts. According to the findings of the Global Media Monitoring Project 2015, the broadest and longest research project on the visibility of women in Italian informational outlets, radio, press and TV, much more visibility is given to men compared to women (79% vs 21%). In particular, female expert sources account for just 18%. It is almost always men who explain and interpret world events. And yet there is a great number of female experts. They could update a media jargon which, by ignoring female voices, overlooks the changing of times and neglects the contribution of women in all different aspects of society, from politics to science.

That's why the Osservatorio di Pavia (Pavia Observatory) and the GiULiA Association, in collaboration with the Bracco Foundation and with the support of the Representation of the European Commission in Italy, have launched www.100esperte.it (100 experts), an online platform that lists 100 names and biographies of experts in the area of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), a sector historically underrepresented by women and at the same time strategic for our country - a site which will especially serve as a search engine for qualified female sources for journalists, but also as a resource of noteworthy and authoritative voices that may contribute to the public debate, within and outside of the media.

Upon completion of the database, this book will give voice to 100 female scientists, mathematicians and computer technicians, astrophysicists and chemists, neuropsychiatrists and biologists who tell their life stories firsthand, their emotions, and their steadfastness in achieving significant milestones.

Fifteen of them describe themselves at length thanks to interviews by Giovanna Pezzuoli and Luisella Seveso, while others are introduced with succinct tweets which give a poignant image to their professionalism and humanity.
Furthermore, the text offers additional passages from donne&scienza (women and science) by Monia Azzalini (Pavia Observatory), Barbara Saracino (Observa Science in Society), Michela Matteoli (CNR Institute of Neuroscience), Telmo Pievani (University of Padua) and Beatrice Covassi (Representation of the European Commission in Italy).

Science is culture and, as such, must encourage diversity and equal access to opportunities; not as a mere claim but because the meeting of diversity is a powerful tool for innovation and social development.

The book will also be available in bookshops starting March 2nd published by Egea for the price of € 12.90. Sales of the book will contribute to the project sponsored by the Opera San Francesco per i Poveri polyambulatory for the prevention of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) through the administration of a quadrivalent vaccine for young immigrants and women in difficulty.

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