Celebrated annually on March 08, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day dedicated to marking the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Launched back in 1911 by the Suffragettes, IWD also represents a unified call to action for accelerating gender parity.

Themed #PressforProgress, this year’s campaign has been especially crafted to respond to findings documented in the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report* suggesting that progress aimed at closing the gender gap is regressing and even moving backwards. Benchmarking 144 countries regarding the status of gender parity across four main areas: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment, data shows that the gap is widening and it is now estimated that equality between men and women across the world is over 200 years away.

In science and medicine, according to a 2015 UNESCO report, as highlighted in a recent Comment article in The Lancet**, women undergraduates outnumber men and yet 72% of the global scientific workforce is male. It would seem then, that the scientific community still has much ground to cover if it is to deliver on the ambition of the United Nation’s 5th Sustainable Development Goal – achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls by 2030.

To mark today’s IWD, VHIO is pleased to announce that 74% of VHIO’s workforce, comprising 358 full-time equivalents, is female. Commenting for VHIO Communications, Josep Tabernero, VHIO’s Director noted, “We are proud to report this reverse percentage trending at VHIO, year in, year out. While this statistic is certainly something to be celebrated as we continue to strongly uphold and support gender parity, strict emphasis at VHIO is placed on contracting the right individual, with the necessary skill set matched to the requirements of a particular position. At VHIO, our talents are appointed based on a proven ability to assume a given role and execute with excellence.”

 One of VHIO’s guiding principles is to contract, promote and grow all its talents, totally irrespective of gender. As such, our Institute constantly seeks to strengthen its own policies and practices – a contributing factor that, in turn, undoubtedly helps spur research of excellence at VHIO.  As participant in the European Commission´s Human Resources for Research (HRS4R) initiative, VHIO is committed to applying the stated principles of the project to its human resources policies for researchers and to promoting transparency, accessibility, equity and the pursuit of excellence in the recruitment of its researchers.

Additionally, in compliance with legal requirements under Spanish law, VHIO has also drawn up and implemented its own dedicated Gender Plan. Under the leadership and supervision of VHIO’s Gender Commission, this body ensures that discrimination, of any form, cannot and will not be tolerated at our Institute.

“At VHIO, we are dedicated to providing a bias-free environment that stimulates our faculty to pursue their research ambitions, develop their careers and seize on the same, equal opportunities.” concluded Josep Tabernero.

In support of this year’s International Women’s Day, we invite colleagues, friends and peers to discover more, get involved, and join us in pressing for progress by visiting: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/.

RELATED VHIO NEWS today: Coinciding with today’s International Women’s Day: VHIO’s Laura Soucek awarded as the only female in Catalonia to receive a “la Caixa” EntrepreneurXXI 2018



*World Economic Forum: The Global Gender Gap Report 2017: https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-gender-gap-report-2017

** Clark J, Zuccala E, Horton R. Women in science, medicine, and global health: call for papers. Lancet. 2017 Dec 2;390(10111):2423-2424.