Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for gender equality … also in science!

Women will get to equality in the end. The only question is, why should we wait?
Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, 2015

March Banners_Step It Up_EN

After the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995),189 countries unanimously adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action that established a series of strategic goals to achieve gender equality, which were summarized in twelve critical areas – including Education and training of women.

Despite changes and improvements in women’s rights, twenty years later, no country has succesfully completed the programme. The following Infographic: Gender equality – Where are we today? shows the situation of inequality that women suffer in the XXI century. On this sense, the Beijing +20 campaign wants to boost the creation of new networks, streghtening political will and mobilize the population to achieve the Planet 50-50 goal by 2030.

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A Reflection on Women in Optics this International Women’s Day

How can you see inside the depth of living tissue? One way is with a technique called ‘two-photon excitation microscopy’ which allows imaging through about one millimeter depth. This technique is now widely used in biology and biomedicine – and its development can be directly linked to Maria Goeppert-Mayer, a Nobel Laureate (1963, Physics) and pioneering woman scientist and mathematician.

Dr. Goeppert-Mayer is most famous for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus, the work cited for her Nobel, but she wrote her doctorate in 1930 on the theory of possible two-photon absorption by atoms. It took the invention of the laser thirty years later for her theory to be proven experimentally. By the late 1980’s, besides applying two-photon absorption to imaging living cells, researchers began to  look at how to store very large amounts of data (3D optical data storage),  how to make micro-sized three-dimensional objects (3D microfabrication) and how to treat cancer (photodynamic therapy). Dr. Goeppert-Mayer’s doctorate idea continues to impact several key technology fields.

Goeppert Mayer. Credits: Wikimedia Commons.

Goeppert Mayer. Credits: Wikimedia Commons.

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