On 15 December 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/212 declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The United Nations invites all Member States including academia, individuals and society in general, to observe the International Day of Women and Girls in Science to promote the full and equal participation of women and girls in education, training, employment and decision-making processes in the sciences.
In Spain a group of men and women, researchers, scientific communicators and teachers, took on the challenge. Some are members of the “Royal Spanish Physics Society” and other institutions, although they all participated as individuals to start the February 11 Initiative. The initiative is based on the belief that a broad knowledge of the work of women scientists, past and present, will produce role models for future women researchers and hence will help close the persistent gender gap in science. The initiative has attracted further participation by individuals, associations and organisations and is already attracting the attention of Spanish media.
The role of the February 11 Initiative is to promote the organisation of activities for students and for the general public and to publicise them. This involves the creation of a webpage 11defebrero.org (in Spanish), gathering information about the achievements of women scientists, the situation of girls and women in science, and all the activities that are being organised mainly in Spain. The initiative is also in twitter @11defebreroES, facebook @dia11defebrero and instagram 11defebreroes.
The event will take place for the first time in 2017 and will include many activities mostly between the 6th and 19th of February. The initiative will hopefully be consolidated in the coming years. The number of activities is still growing and so far they include visits and activities in scientific institutions, seminars in secondary schools, theatre displays, outreach talks in cultural centres and bars, and TV programs. Anyone in Spain interested in joining the initiative by organising activities is most welcome to contact the coordinators. Institutions and organisations across Europe are also invited to join the celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.