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International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Implemented by UNESCO and UN-Women, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated on 11 February. The aim of this day is to promote women and girls in science, and it is an opportunity to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.

InnoRenew CoE is committed to having diversity in research staff, including gender equality. Among 71 employees, 53 % are women.

“We are dedicated to creating an environment where everyone feels good, no matter gender, culture or nationality,” said Dr Andreja Kutnar, InnoRenew CoE director. “We are convinced that the diversity we are creating with the international team is the one successfully leading us in our work. The balanced gender diversity among our employees is additionally contributing to our innovations and great work.”

In 2020, 17 InnoRenew CoE employees enrolled in doctoral studies. Forty-seven percent of these students are women from various fields—renewable materials for healthy built environments, kinesiology, pedagogy, chemistry and computer science, which is encouraging data for the future of science.

Three InnoRenew CoE researchers have also been successful in obtaining prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions individual fellowships, which aim to promote gender equality. Marie Skłodowska-Curie played an important role in introducing women to scientific research and is today a symbol of women’s success in science. InnoRenew CoE is undoubtedly continuing with her efforts.

To mark the 2021 International Day of Women and Girls in Science, InnoRenew CoE gathered a few statements from female scientists:

“Being a scientist is a mission. Both the male and female part of the population differ from each other in character and in the way they approach solving challenges. The field of wood science has been traditionally a more masculine field, mainly because women did not choose to study this. Wood is a renewable, traditional lignocellulosic material that has been used for thousands of years for a variety of purposes. And it is precisely because of this that the research of wood and the development of new materials from wood began quite late. With each new discovery, even more questions open up that need to be explored.”—Marica Mikuljan

“I think we do not need such labels in science. I do not feel being a woman in science, just a scientist. What matters is the passion and the will to learn and discover more.” —Dr Anna Sandak

“Being a female scientist means that I must do my work twice as well as men scientists do it to be thought half as good.” —Dr Ana Slavec

“Women in science. When I am thinking about women in science, I imagine a woman in a lab coat with lab equipment around her. But I am not that. I am a woman. I am a researcher. But I do not feel like being in a category of women in science. I do not like being put in a category and I do not like put people in categories. We are all unique with our beautiful minds with which we can push boundaries further. So, do what you like. Believe in yourself, contribute to a better world and be alive.” —Mateja Erce

“The most beautiful part of being a researcher is that we are never bored. We have an insatiable curiosity that drives us to constant learning, research, discovery… But it is also a responsible job, as we influence the changing patterns of thinking and acting, in the desire to create a better world.” —Vesna Starman

“No matter the gender or some other categories we too often divide people in, the freedom of choosing the path we want to pursue, and that we are passionate about, both in our personal and professional life is precious.” —Lea Primožič

“Thanks to the people around me, I have never identified as a female researcher, but as a (young) researcher. The things that are important are your willingness to put in the work and constantly thinking of new ideas, so don’t let the doubts of others and especially yourself get in the way of your interests. It is very easy to look at all the accomplishments of others, marvel at their successes and thinking you’re not the same or that you don’t have what it takes, but knowing nothing about anything is completely normal and part of the process of learning and growing as a scientist. Everybody starts somewhere, so if you’re thinking about joining the world of research, believe in yourself and embrace the challenge.” —Nežka Sajinčič

“Obstacles should never feel like a barrier. We have learnt that they are really a springboard where we can gain momentum and continue with greater strength. Do not give up, as progress was never easy.” —Dr. Oihana Gordobil

 “If you strongly believe in the relevance of your ideas and work, here is the message: Give your best and hope for the best!” —Kaja Kastelic

“Women can dream, women can learn, women can fail and learn from their mistakes, women can lead and educate, women can succeed, women can research. Women can and women do.” — Hanka Remešová