ICE | The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer | Issue 8

25 The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer Issue 8 · November 2021 · Kislev 5782 Report Women in science Rachel Mamlok-Naaman Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel [email protected] 1. Introduction At a symposium on women in science, conducted at the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities on April 23rd, 2003, Professor Ruth Arnon, a biochemist and co-developer of the multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, claimed [1]: After all, scientific research is an occupation that relies on personal skills (talent, perseverance, executive ability, etc.) and does not depend on the gender of the practitioner. And therefore, why dedicate the discussion to women scientists only? But it turns out that what is true in theory is not always true in reality. For ages, female scientists were not given the right of an equal among their fellow male scientists. Therefore, we thought that there was room to discuss the issue of women in science in Israel, and precisely within the walls of the Israeli National Academy of Sciences. At the same symposium, Dr. Pnina Abir-Am from Rockefeller University [2] gave a historical overview about the participation of women in science, since the Scientific Revolution in the 17th Century. Women only participated as collectors, illustrators, translators, or assistants of scientist family members. The establishment of women’s colleges in the last third of the 19th Century enabled science education for women (e.g. Marie Curie). Even today, despite various improvements and a rise in the number of women students of science, women are still a minority in many fields of science – underrepresented in positions of leadership in universities, scientific societies, or industries. Dr. RachelMamlok-Naaman was theheadof theNational Center of ChemistryTeachers at theWeizmann Institute of Science (until 2020), and the coordinator of the chemistry group at the Department of Science Teaching (until June 2016). In addition, she serves as the chair of DivCED EuChemS, a titular member of the IUPAC committee on chemical education (CCE), and an executive member of the IUPAC gender gap committee. Her publications focus on the topics which are related to students' learning (cognitive and affective aspects of learning), and on teachers' professional development. She received several awards, among them - two from the Weizmann Institute: the 1990 Bar-Ner award for teaching, and 2006 Maxine Singer award for professional development of science teachers. In 2018, she received the ACS award for incorporation of sustainability into the chemistry curriculum, and in 2020 the IUPAC award for distinguished women in chemistry or chemical engineering. Abstract Women continue to represent a small proportion of faculty members in science and technology programs, especially in more prestigious research institutions. They still need to cope with discrimination, with an unconscious bias, as well as with the demands of their families. According to UNESCO institution of Statistics, fewer than 30% researchers all over the world are women. The analysis of “AGlobal Approach to the Gender Gap inMathematical, Computing, and Natural Sciences, How tomeasure it? How to reduce it?” survey, contributed to the understanding of this phenomenon and to the identification of the various factors causing it. The recommendations address a variety of groups: instructors and parents of girls in primary, secondary, and higher education; educational organizations; Scientific Unions and other worldwide organizations. This paper will deal with the situation of women scientists in Israel, with examples of women chemists in academia.