There is a place for women in any field of science – be it supercomputer simulation, metallurgy, or biotechnology. They work side by side with men and move the science and technology process forward.
In order to highlight the importance of the role of women in scientific community, UNESCO established an International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which is celebrated annually on February 11th. South Ural State University has joined the celebration and has honoured female scientists who demonstrated high performance in 2020.
The researchers talked about what science is to them, and what role women play in it.
Natalia Dolganina, Candidate of Sciences (Engineering), Head of the SUSU Supercomputer Simulation Laboratory:
"In the modern world, science is more relevant than ever, because new scientific research allows making technology breakthroughs, improving the characteristics of the existing equipment, and also creating completely new developments that have not been there before. From my point of view, today men and women have equal opportunities to participate in scientific activities, and this is great."
Marina Samodurova, Doctor of Sciences (Engineering), Head of the Laboratory for Mechanics, Laser Processes and Digital Production Technologies:
"Already back in his time Alexander Herzen once said: 'Science is power, it reveals relationships of things, their laws and interactions.' Today, the level of science and technology development is one of the main indicators of social development, as well as the development of a modern state. Everything around us is an achievement of science.
I believe that the well-being of countries depends directly on the state of their science. Countries that pay serious attention to scientific research and mastering of new knowledge-intensive technologies, and provide for financial, production, intellectual and other means, are leaders in the modern political and economic race and occupy leading positions in the world arena.
History has witnessed many great female scientists who have made a huge contribution to the development of science and society. They are Sofya Kovalevskaya, Maria Skłodowska-Curie, Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin, and the list of famous names can be continued. Currently, women, along with men, head scientific schools and institutes, defend dissertations, and supervise research laboratories. If a man in science is just a scientist, then a woman is a scientist, a mother, a homemaker, and in most cases she successfully copes with all this.
Today, there is virtually no scientific field where women do not conduct their activities: even such male fields as metallurgy, mechanical engineering, aviation, and space have been "conquered". I think that if you look at the statistics of how many women and men are involved in scientific research, the ratio will be approximately equal. This suggests that today women are an integral part of science."
Natalia Degtiareva, Candidate of Sciences (Engineering), lecturer at the SUSU Institute of Architecture and Construction:
"My scientific activity is devoted to research in construction. When reading research articles and attending conferences, I meet not so many women doing research in this industry. Undoubtedly, there are more man who are successful in science than women.
But the value of research and discovery does not depend on the gender identity of a scientist. To be successful in science, one needs to have such qualities as purposefulness, decency, honesty, conscientiousness, responsibility, curiosity, and also have an analytical mindset. These qualities, combined with a good education, give women and men the opportunity to gain recognition in science."
Irina Potoroko, Doctor of Sciences (Engineering), Head of the Laboratory for Synthesis and Analysis of Food Ingredients:
"Today the world is developing so intensively that the path from a scientific discovery to its implementation is rapidly shortening. In our developments, our research team tries to take into account the issues of human ecology and the influence of nutraceuticals and food systems of consumed products to form a protective barrier against adverse effects.
Being a multifaceted scientific direction, biotechnology allows forming a kind of "umbrella" to protect both external and internal systems of the human body. And an auxiliary resource for this is modern scientific engineering capabilities, including unique equipment and digital technology. This is a treasure for our university, and we get new results in our research, filled with a high-precision data set.
In my opinion, gender identity is not important in science. A scientist with a big S, no matter a man or a woman, is the patrimony of society! There are many names in history that define the development of science; fundamental knowledge is updated continuously. It should be noted that there are more and more young researchers in science, but it relies on its gurus, and we are proud of that! This is the proper development of society. I am envious of the future generations for that their research capabilities are virtually endless."
Ekaterina Bartashevich, Doctor of Sciences (Chemistry), Head of the Multiscale Modelling of Multicomponent Functional Materials Laboratory:
"Science has been and will be relevant at all times. It provides a person with a chance to adequately respond to the challenges posed by the forces of nature. Scientific developments allow us to improve the quality of life, fight poverty, resist disease, and explore the Universe. Another thing is that in the modern rapidly changing world, the interconnection between education and science is extremely important. The temporal distance between ideas and innovations is rapidly decreasing, and therefore the role of universities providing higher education based on the latest achievements of fundamental science is enormous. Here I hasten to note the significant role of women involved in science, who following the functions laid down by nature, invest their potential in the upbringing of new generations of educated people.
Women in science play a wide variety of roles, from ensuring the functioning of instruments to generating ideas and developing scientific strategies. But the role of women scientists, who devolve their knowledge and experience to the younger generation, is especially valuable."
We wish women scientists success in their scientific activities, happiness and prosperity, self-fulfilment in their professional field, and recognition of their research by the world scientific community.