University of São Paulo: There is no room for stereotypes that create obstacles for women in academia

Professor Adriana Alves, new coordinator of the USP Women’s Office, in an interview with Jornal da USP in Ar 1st Edition , discussed actions for gender equality inside and outside the University, aiming to promote greater access, permanence and progression of women at USP , both in academic and administrative terms. She highlighted that there are different obstacles depending on the area. “For exact ones, we still need to focus a lot on access. For the human and biological ones, we already have a slightly better scenario”, but, even so, the hiring privileges men.

Adriana points out that this difference in access between exact, human and biological is due to stereotypes. “We also need to undo a whole stereotype of creation of men and women. I grew up hearing that women were better at writing and men were better at logical thinking. So we need to raise our girls so that they see a future in hard science careers.”

Therefore, it is necessary to sensitize university managers so that there are policies to encourage the entry and permanence of women. “This is a problem that is worldwide. It’s not just from USP”, emphasizes the professor.

Another point raised by the professor is about the actions taken by USP to encourage girls to enter exact careers, such as Girl in Science , carried out by the School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities (EACH). “I think captivating girls in high school is a measure that has proven to be quite effective.”

However, the coordinator of the Women’s Office believes that something should be done for those girls who have already entered the course, with the objective that they follow their academic career well. “We need to think about actions that encourage these girls to continue their academic careers later and, perhaps, increase the number of candidates for a teaching career.” She goes on to explain that it will be necessary to increase the “number of PhDs in these areas and the number of candidates for competitions”.

With regard to quota students, Adriana sees that these actions should reach them and help them to pursue an academic career. “So, we have two challenges that, for me, are the main ones: the first is to have a document that confirms the University’s commitment to gender equality; the other is to bring a racial cut so that we have numerical diversity, not only in terms of gender, but also that we bring more black women”, she says.

The professor believes that, if they manage to expand these actions to the issue of equity at USP, “this will serve as a model for other institutions to adopt the same measures and then create a wave of gender equity for the others, to bring more Brazilian universities” .

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