Encouraging the participation of a diverse workforce in academia increases plurality as it broadens the range of skills, ways of thinking and experiences. Institutions and professional societies have been putting efforts on building plans that help make workplaces, conferences, education and extension programs more relatable to a highly diverse population. Argentina has an overall gender-balanced workforce in the sciences (~53% women/total), with an even higher representation in disciplines related to plant sciences. However, media outlets and national conferences related to genetics, botany, plant physiology, ecology and molecular biology, fail to reflect those numbers as the proportion of women invited for interviews, plenary lectures, and symposia falls below ~30%. As a way to increase the visibility of the wealth of plant science topics and experimental approaches in which Argentinian women work, and to facilitate connections among them across the country and abroad, we created the Argentinian Women in Plant Science network (https://argplantwomen.weebly.com/). This group has grown to over 200 members, representing a wide range of career stages and research topics. Since April, and taking advantage of the confinement situation, our weekly webinar series highlighting women plant scientists has reached an average audience of 60-70 participants, with a record of 100. Recently, we have begun a series of open professional development webinars to reach a wider public. Our first webinar, focused on Scientific poster design, had ~250 participants, most of them undergrad and graduate students from all over the country covering a diverse range of disciplines, including the social sciences. Even though we have immersed ourselves in the plant science community with our weekly seminars, we have expanded our goals with activities aimed to reach out to a much wider audience with webinars and teacher training workshops, hopefully making plant science more attainable to all.
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Building a Pathway for Diversity in Plant Sciences in Argentina: Highlighting the Work of Women Scientists through Virtual Activities
Published: 30 November 2020 by MDPI in The 1st International Electronic Conference on Plant Science session Plant Outreach and Educational Resources
Keywords: women; communication; network; gender-equality