The plenary hall of the Town Hall of Santa Cruz de Tenerife was host, last night, to the institutional act commemorating International Women’s Day, which this time displayed the protagonism and work of women in the field of Science, of Outreach, and of Higher Education.
With this motive the City Council gave solemn distinction to Antonia Varela Pérez of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), to Marisa Tejedor Salguero, and Carolina Martínez Pulido, in the field of Biology and to Teresa Giráldez Fernández, in Biochemistry, as undoubted examples of the crucial role that women have won, by their own efforts, with their contributions to different scientific fields and to human knowledge.
In an agreeable act, celebrated in a plenary hall which was very full, presided over by the Mayor of the Capital, José Manuel Bermudez, the City Council paid tribute to the careers of the four scientists, followed by the awarding of prizes in the annual short story contest “Women”.
In his speech, the Mayor, in the institutional act, reminded those present that “to defend equality is to fight against privilege, and for this reason we are here in this plenary hall: to speak once again, humbly but solemnly, in favour of equality between men and women”.
“So tonight” he continued, “from this small place in the Atlantic, from this city which always wants the pulse of equality to beat strongly, we again make our small contribution to a process which we want to be irreversible, definitive”.
Opening the way forward
The Mayor of Santa Cruz then stressed the exemplarity of the four women scientists who were being recognized by the municipality as women who had “worked for the progress of science, but at the same time for that of women”.
“Opening up new ways, exploring large universes and disentangling tiny particles, struggling with reason, knowledge, and perspicacity , from the mind, in favour of equality, performing science and teaching, enhancing education, which should be the the basis of a new reality” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the four scientists, Marisa Tejedor gave a summary of the role of women in science throughout history, with emphasis on how this had grown in importance in Western societies, including Spain.
“We are optimists. Great advances have been made, but there is some way to go to recognize fully the prestige of Spanish women in the scientific field” said Tejedor.
The second Deputy Mayor, Marisa Zamora, as councillor in charge of subjects dealing with equality, explained that this recognition of the 4 scientists also gives due credit to those women who, following their example, win prestige in disciplines and activities historically associated with men.
Zamora admitted that “We are living at a difficult moment, which is also exciting, in the fight for equality. In the last two years we have seen massive demonstrations of women in all walks of life, also of men, who strongly believe in principles which should be basic”.
“And we will continue to do this” she warned “But always from a point of moderation, of reason, which is where intellectual battles are won. We cannot and should not respond to extremism with extremism, we must remain true to a struggle based on the conviction that reason is on our side”.