In 1945, the United Nations Charter
was the first document to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. In 1975, the United Nations officially established an International Women's Day for the first time; then, in 1977, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution
proclaiming a Day for Women's Rights and International Peace, to be observed by Member States on any day of the year, in accordance with their traditions and history.
The association with March 8 goes back a long way: it emerges from the activist movements for labour rights that took place in Europe and America at the turn of the 20th century. In the United States, on February 27, 1909, the first National Women's Day was celebrated, dedicated to the strike by textile workers in New York who protested for better working conditions. It was in Russia that, on March 8, 1917, women protested for "Bread and Peace" and their movement led to the enactment of women's suffrage in that country.
International Women's Day is an occasion to celebrate progress towards equality and empowerment, honouring everyone who has contributed in the past and contributes today to a more equal world. It is also a day to critically reflect on achievements and what still needs to be done. It is a day to recognize the extraordinary acts of women and to promote gender equality and women's human rights around the world*.
In the area of technological entrepreneurship, more men than women create technological companies; there are more men than women in professions linked to STEAM - Sciences, Technologies, Engineering, Aerospace and Maths; there are more men than women in leadership positions in companies. In this context, even in the IPN community, a simple but attentive observation of our startups shows these differences, when we enter company rooms, co-works, go to the caffe, pass through corridors and also when at events the panels are dominated by men, when examples of entrepreneurship are given in masculine terms, when in communication we choose images that are not very diverse or when we write in a way that is not very inclusive. What we see is corroborated by official statistics and justified in many scientific studies (for example, see EIGE - European Institute for Gender Equality, GEM - Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and its Women's Entrepreneurship Reports)
If we don't discriminate against women's access to entrepreneurship, technology, STEAM professions and leadership positions, what can we do to promote a more equal community and institution? In general, over the years IPN has promoted the principle of Gender Equality (GE) by making its teams evolve in a positive and equal way, in terms of equal opportunities for all and non-discrimination on the grounds of gender, disability, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, region, age or sexual orientation. This commitment is formalized in its Equality Policy
, which is embodied in the IPN's Gender Equality Plan for the period 2021-2023
, which you can find out about on our website.
We would also like to highlight the projects we are involved in that positively promote women entrepreneurs, such as the Women Entrepreneurship Bootcamp
, which is in its second edition, in which IPN is a partner and which is supported by EIT Health. In this Bootcamp, 10 European startups, founded or co-founded by women in the health sector (medical technology, such as medical devices, digital health or biotech) will have dedicated support from a team of trainers and mentors to grow their businesses, in areas such as value proposition, marketing, market access, regulatory issues, financing, pitch, communication, leadership, as well as networking and access to investment opportunities. Registration for this program is still open HERE
We would also like to remind you of the series of 10 videos we recorded for the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, in which we interviewed entrepreneurs, businesswomen and top professionals in the space sector, in our community and in Portugal, which are available on our YouTube channel
This year, we symbolically took a photo of the women in the IPN community who, on a daily basis, in startups, laboratories and various units, contribute to promoting technology-based entrepreneurship, innovation, technology transfer and applied research. Today is International Women's Day. Let's celebrate!
Carla Duarte, March 8, 2022
Innovation Manager in the Innovation Department of IPN
*Cf.: UNESCO, 2021, International Women’s Day - History of International Women's Day: https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/womenday