Exchange on gender equity

Written by: Nora Krischer

Covestro employees from Mexico have set up a women's network. In a safe space, they are allowed to exchange experiences on the topic of gender equity openly and without prejudice.

The lack of gender equity in professional life is ever-present - even in our industry. Although the proportion of women in science and industry is increasing worldwide, the gender imbalance is only slowly leveling out.

Colleagues at Covestro's Mexico site have taken up the issue and launched a new format during the coronavirus pandemic: In the "Mujeres ConCiencia" series, a play on words from awareness and science, female scientists and journalists are invited to engage in dialogue together. In a cosy atmosphere, such as a virtual breakfast, the participants openly exchange their experiences. The aim: to raise awareness with regard to gender equity and strengthen women's networks. The network meetings are hung on international theme days and thus always have a discussion focus. In addition, the team takes advantage of the media, political and scientific attention that is generated on these days.

First Meeting: International Day of Women and Girls in Science and International Women's Day.

On the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11) and International Women's Day (March 8), the team met for the first time on February 25, 2021. Angélica Sandoval, who is responsible for Covestro's external communications in Mexico, reported on Covestro's commitment to gender equality and the company's local commitment to inspiring girls to pursue STEM professions (MINT = mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, technology). Together, they discussed how important it is for gender equality to create conducive conditions in areas such as the natural sciences and engineering.

“Mujeres ConCiencia Talks have enabled a frankly and direct approach with several women from scientific fields, which has allowed us to meditate about what needs to be changed, but, moreover, about what things we can actually do to bring closer more women into this field”.
Nelly Toche, El Economista

Second meeting. International Earth Day

The second meeting was held in the framework of the International Earth Day (April 22), which focused on the importance of creating a sustainable world, as well as the competitiveness and innovation perspective. Here, Dr. Irene Latorre Martínez, researcher in Covestro's global Research and Development (R&D) Isocyanates team, participated and her presence was welcomed by the press. The journalists were interested to know what obstacles she had to overcome before obtaining her current position in Covestro's Senior Project Management. Irene shared her personal experiences as a scientist in an industry like the chemical industry, where she was often the only female participant in seminars, conferences or projects.

Third Meeting. International LGBT+ Pride Day

The third meeting took place in the framework of the International LGBT+ Pride Day (28 June). The focus was on the importance of diversity and inclusion. The guest of the day was Dr. Dania Gutiérrez , researcher at CINVESTAV in Monterrey and activist of the LGBT+ community. She shared her experience of being transgender in academia and that of being a woman in a male dominated professional environment. At times, participants were left speechless by the challenges and obstacles Gutiérrez faces on a daily basis. It became increasingly clear: We still have a long way to go before we achieve equality for all genders.

I’m proud of this initiative because it has evolved as a space in which we can discuss the challenges of being a woman in any professional area, but also many ideas have come up to try to rewrite the present and future for all women”.
Angélica Sandoval, Communications Mexico and Co-initiator of "Mujeres ConCiencia"

Fourth Session. International Literacy Day

The fourth event took place in the framework of the International Literacy Day (8 September). Two scientists, Dr. Thalía García, pharmacobiologist and chemist, and Patricia Rodil, Master of Science in Molecular Biology, from "Mexican Female Scientists" - an association of more than 17,000 female scientists - spoke about the relevance of promoting and involving girls and women in STEM subjects, as well as the importance of networks that promote women in all professional fields. They stressed the importance of talking about science already in basic education without stigmatizing that this field is "not for women".

The participants rate the series of events as a complete success. This can be measured not only by the fact that almost everyone who was present at the first session also took part in the subsequent ones. The format is already bearing fruit and has served as an impetus for follow-up projects. For example, one of the participating journalists, inspired by the Covestro initiative, launched a radio column on women's empowerment.

For the colleagues from Mexico, one thing is certain: "Mujeres ConCiencia" will continue.

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