Campaign promotes a vocation for science among Chilean girls

27 March, 2019

Eight women scientists -female role models in astronomy, engineering, information sciences and physics- inspire young people across Chile through a web series that will air on YouTube, targeted at younger generations to spark their passion for sciences. These 9 documentaries form part of the PROVOCA campaign and will be aired every Thursday at 6:30 pm starting tomorrow at the following link: https://bit.ly/2HeXxzS; half of them featuring ALMA women.

To promote a vocation for science in girls, ALMA’s North American partners, Associated Universities Inc. and the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory (AUI/NRAO), join forces with Fundación Belén Educa to launch the PROVOCA campaign during the month of women and astronomy. The initiative announces the creation of spaces for young people to meet female scientist role models in Chile, inspiring them to further their studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“This campaign places an emphasis on diversity and inclusion from a gender perspective but also in recognition of lower-income groups, indigenous people, immigrants and people with disabilities, who have traditionally been underrepresented,” indicates Paulina Bocaz, AUI/NRAO representative in Chile and leader of PROVOCA. “Diverse life experiences enrich our educational and work spaces, which not only increases equality but also results in better performance.”

Although female enrollment in higher education has increased considerably over the past decade in Chile, according to UNESCO, Chile is one of the Latin American countries with the lowest proportion of women graduating from the fields of science, technology, engineering and math on a university level (18% in 2015).

To bring female scientist role models closer to female students in different locations throughout the country, a web series named after the campaign will be disseminated on YouTube. Its nine chapters showcase female scientists explaining to 62 students in Puente Alto, Quilicura and Toconao how they overcame hurdles to reach their dreams and contribute to gender equality in science. The videos are based on a gathering between students and role models organized last year by AUI/NRAO, SOCHIAS and Inspiring Girls, with the enthusiastic participation of scientists from the ALMA and ESO Observatories, and the universities of Santiago de Chile, Andrés Bello and Concepción.

Sean Dougherty, director of ALMA Observatory, added that “we strongly support all activities that encourage young people to participate in careers in science, technology, engineering and math, especially young women, as we strive to maintain a balanced, diverse and multicultural team. This is a goal of utmost importance for a multinational observatory that is a global leader like ALMA.”

In addition to web dissemination, PROVOCA will engage in experiences throughout the year with female scientist role models from Santiago and the Antofagasta and Biobío regions in alliance with Fundación Belén Educa and Universidad Católica del Norte (UCN), Universidad de Antofagasta (UA) and Universidad de Concepción (UDEC). These activities will be complemented with tactile astronomy exhibits to bring astronomic knowledge to people with visual disabilities.

The campaign is an invitation for different social actors to commit to the creation of a diverse and inclusive culture in science, from early childhood in the home to the classroom and the workplace.

Poster of the "Provoca" Campaign (in Spanish)

Poster of the “Provoca” Campaign (in Spanish)