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María Icíar Astiasarán Anchía, Vice President de research of the University

Female leadership

Mon, 11 Mar 2019 10:29:00 +0000 Published in Navarra Newspaper

The official accreditation of the high school of research Sanitaria de Navarra (IDISNA) was received a few weeks ago. There are a total of 31 similar institutes in Spain, around publicly owned hospitals and research centers. The one in Navarra is the first one resulting from the public-private partnership , which is the trend in the most developed countries.

But IDISNA is relevant precisely in the celebration we have had of March 8, because it is the first of the institutes with a woman as scientific director. Navarre has also been ahead in this respect.

This is an isolated fact, but indicative of a more general status . There are many highly qualified women professors and researchers in Spain, but few in positions of responsibility. And this is something that happens not only in the field of science. Also in politics, Economics and many other sectors. As an African woman and feminist says: "The higher you climb, the fewer women you find". This has to change.

March 8, 2018 can be considered a historic date. There are those who think that on that day feminism went from being the struggle of a minority to becoming a universal cause. The equality of women, deserving the same rights and opportunities in all fields, is no longer discussed. We can discuss the how, but not the what.

It's nothing new: environmentalism began as the struggle of a minority, but for years environmental care has been a universal cause. We may disagree about the ban on diesel engines, but we all share a concern for our common home. Hopefully something similar will happen with pacifism, and coexistence will soon become a universal cause.

It seems important to me that, at a time like this, we do not take any steps backwards. Women's equality must remain a universal cause, one that unites men and women, beyond the harsh debates of politics, especially at election time. I think that in Navarre we can lead the way. We have a good foundation. Navarre has always been a land of equality. Among all, also between men and women.

Here we have had two female presidents of different political persuasions. In the last two governments, some women have occupied important ministries, such as Economics, Health and Education, as well as the presidency of the Parliament. All of them have been criticized, like any of their male party colleagues, but never, as far as I know, has a sexist comment been heard. Navarre society would reject it outright.

But much remains to be done. In order to take on more and more responsibilities, we women must maintain our ambition and continue to qualify ourselves for increasingly complex tasks. Among them, I would like to refer to management and government jobs, in all areas: political, business, institutional, cultural and social.

There are still few women on boards of directors, or among the top management of companies. And no woman wants to be there because of a quota policy. We want to get there on our own merits and for that we need to prepare ourselves.

We must ensure that "the higher you go, the more women you find". Especially in those governing bodies that pass laws, implement investments, make decisions on which the future of society depends.

And this is not just a demand for equality, which of course it is. It is also about the fact that women are called upon to bring a new perspective to the decision-making process, from which we have been excluded for too long. We have the right to be protagonists and we want a better world.

I am sure that women can bring strength against injustice, violence and corruption; and passion to defend equality, ethics and life.

That is why I propose that all the authorities in our country support female talent and help to break the glass ceilings, here and now. Steps have already been taken in the world of science and politics. Let us continue to make progress in companies and institutions. Let's not spend our time explaining why there are few women in positions of relevance. Let us change that reality.

We women need role models, to make visible those who have blazed the trail, who have gone far, and who are an encouragement for us and for our daughters. And an example for our children. Because we will build the better world we aspire to together.