Every month, EPWS presents the characteristics and activities of one Member Association.
Our member for May is the Portuguese Association Amonet.
For Amonet, Maria João Bebbianno, President, has accepted to answer the EPWS questionnaire.
Association website: amonet.pt
Contact this association: AMONET – PORTUGUESE ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN SCIENTISTS
Contact this member: MARIA JOÃO BEBIANNO, PRESIDENT (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
EPWS: If you wanted to describe your association in one sentence, what would you say?
AMONET: Inspired in the primordial goddess of Lower Egypt, Amon, AMONET spans North wind, blows new life and wisdom in the minds of elites and leaders, aiming to provide them with the knowledge they need to govern for smallest gender gap.
EPWS: What are the objectives of your association?
AMONET: The objectives of the Association are:
a) To conduct studies on matters relevant to the effective consecration of equal rights and opportunities;
b) To propose to the competent bodies the development, modification or revocation of any diplomas in order to obtain full equality rights and opportunities;
c) To promote the clarification and the debate on the situation of women scientists, promote their rights and to report, by all means, any forms of discrimination;
d) To promote the exchange of knowledge and experience with other organizations at national and international level and to collaborate with them on initiatives that can contribute to achieving the aims of the AMONET association.
EPWS: What is the history of AMONET, in a few words?
AMONET: In 2003 in Portugal, the evaluation process of the Environment and Chemistry scientific areas for Undergraduate courses was carried out by committees appointed by the National Council for Higher Education Assessment (CNAVES), formed respectively by 13 men out of 19 persons, although, within these scientific fields, more than 50% of teachers and researchers were women. Almost all evaluation committees of scientific areas related to other degrees had unacceptable distortions as constituted, for a fair representation of women.
Members of the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering (DCEA) and the Department of Chemistry (DQ), Faculty of Science and Technology, New University of Lisbon (FCT/UNL) allegedly collected more than two hundred signatures of scientists, men and women, requesting the President of CNAVES a new composition of its committees, but there was not any relevant response. Then the intervention of the Ombudsman was requested, who addressed an opinion to the President of CNAVES, as well as the Minister of Science and Higher Education, noting that:
“The much needed balance […] can be ensured by promoting a fair balance in its composition, and particularly the participation of women and men in decision-making centers. The implementation of the orientation appointed […] will involve constant surveillance by the entities involved in the whole process of designating people.”
Aware of the gender gap in Portugal, concerning the lack of a forum where the Women Scientists could, in an organized way, optimize its ability to intervene in society, a group of women scientists, integrating representatives from across the country, decided to found the Portuguese Association of Women Scientists – AMONET.
EPWS: Could you explain the organization of your association?
AMONET: The Association has the following organs:
a) The General Assembly;
b) The Directorate;
c) The Supervisory Board.
The Directorate is the organ of management and administration of the Association, thus being responsible for, inter alia:
a) Performing the decisions of the General Assembly;
b) Appointing committees and structuring the internal organization of the Association;
c) Ensuring the follow up on all activities aimed at achieving social purposes;
d) Organizing and supervising the activities of the Association and services thereof;
e) Performing all other functions assigned to the Statutes, the internal regulations of the Association and by law;
f) Representing the Association in court and outside, through its President, or the members appointed for that purpose.
EPWS: What are its recent achievements?
AMONET: One relevant achievement is the “Map of Portuguese Women Scientists”, which configures a unique project of AMONET. It is a digital interactive map providing detailed information about the Portuguese women scientists who contributed significantly to the advancement of their scientific work area, and science in general. The map is divided into 11 major scientific areas: Medicine, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science, Geology, Meteorology, Law and Social Sciences and Humanities. The project is accessible in the Association’s webpage or from the link: http://bit.ly/amonet-map.
AMONET organized in 2014 its IV International Symposium (IV ISA), which was centered on the topic “Women Scientists as Global Solution Providers” aimed at promoting debate about related issues. The IV ISA took place in Lisbon at Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.
AMONET published in 2012 the book “Women, Science and Globalization: What’s Up?” edited by Isabel Lousada and Maria J. Gonçalves. The book includes communications presented at the III International Symposium of AMONET (III ISA). The book has a digital edition by Vasco Bonifácio and can be accessed from Association’s webpage or from the link: http://bit.ly/amonet-ebook.
EPWS: What is your agenda for the coming months?
AMONET: The Association will continue to publish online its newsletter (number 9 will be shortly available) as we consider that this publication a useful tool for women’s empowerment in Science.
AMONET will continue to discuss gender issues at all levels and intervene always where appropriate. Also, AMONET will again collaborate in the activities of the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (Presidency of the Council of Ministers) through its membership in the Commission’s Consultative Council.
AMONET was selected in January 2015 as a member for the Municipal Council for Equality of the Municipality of Lisbon, in the capacity of Organization of the Civil Society. The Municipal Council for Equality is a consultative body of the Municipality of Lisbon. It aims to promote, evaluate and to ensure in matters of conception, the implementation of municipal public policies that promote equality and fight discrimination in all policies of the municipality. AMONET will be one of the four reporting organizations at the meeting to be carried out in the last quarter of this year.
AMONET will keep on raising awareness on gender inequalities in scientific and academic careers by participating in various forums looking for empowerment of female scientists, aiming to the permanence of young women in professions related to science and technology and fighting the drop out – pipeline.
AMONET will continue to map the scientific career of Portuguese Women Scientists trying to give visibility to their life paths, shedding light to its main achievements.
Promotional activities in Universities and High Schools such as Workshops monitoring the participation of women in science using our “Map of Scientists” will be welcomed (e.g. “Where do women stop”, 2014 edition – Ciência Viva).
The AMONET webpage (Portuguese/English) will be updated as well as other social networks namely the Association’s Blog and Facebook pages, which allows expanding our capacity to intervene with other partners and diversify the means for dissemination of materials we want to convey.
Last not least we will pursue strengthening ties and cooperating, as we did before, in co-established organizations with research units, companies, and NGOs either at national of international level, enabling diversification and amplification of tasks and resources (e.g. “Anne Frank: a History for today” exhibition and conferences held in 2014).
EPWS: Are you collaborating with other EPWS members?
AMONET: Yes, mainly through the members of such associations who are also members of the Board of Administration of EPWS.
EPWS: What do you expect from EPWS? In what ways can it help you develop your action?
AMONET: A platform, which can embrace European women that practice science in all its forms and help them in all possible ways to eliminate all forms of discrimination that are still prevalent in our societies.
The help provided by EPWS can be manifold and encompass information from European institutions and other international and national institutions.
We expect EPWS to increase the visibility of national activities at international level and serve as a level for the establishment of strategic partnerships and campaigns in defense of gender equality in related areas increasing the possibilities to influence worldwide public policies.