The award includes two categories and three modalities.
The videos entered into the contest must encourage women to pursue degrees in technology
The deadline for submitting entries is 31 December, after which three winners will be chosen
The Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) is now accepting entries for this year's equit@T awards, an international prize for videos on gender and technology. The award is an incentive for schoolchildren and adults to make videos (lasting between 30 seconds and 2 minutes) that encourage girls to pursue degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Two categories: secondary school students and adults
The deadline for submitting entries is 31 December. The contest is aimed at secondary school students and adults; so, there are two categories. The best video in each one will take home the prize. The videos can be in any of Spain's co-official languages, but they must have subtitles in Catalan or Spanish. The idea is that all the videos entered should be able to be shared on social media.
The student category is divided into two sub-categories. The first is for videos on gender and ICT, which can be submitted by secondary school students of any gender, either individually or as a group. The second sub-category is for scientific dissemination videos. It is aimed exclusively at female secondary school students, who must submit a video that explains a concept from science or technology.
The adult category is for professional and amateur videographers, who are asked to submit a video related to gender and ICT.
The finalists will be announced on 1 February 2024 and the award ceremony is currently scheduled for 17 February. Each of the winners will receive a €1,000 prize. In the student category, this money will be used for technology equipment and educational material (divided between the school and the student).
Getting children and young people to think about degrees in science
Daniel Riera, dean of the Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications, said that the scientific evidence points to "a number of reasons why women don't pursue ICT or STEM degrees". He added that this evidence "mainly puts the point at which girls may lose interest between the ages of seven and thirteen". This is why the equit@T awards "aim to get children and young people thinking at this crucial time in their lives". According to Riera, "it is essential that they are ready and able to identify, understand and rise above these outside influences, so that they can make free choices".
Montse Serra, another member of the faculty, believes that "it is very important to speak to young people about gender socialization, gender identities, sexual orientations and so on, to foster their critical and constructive thinking so that they can apply it to society and social change". This, she added, "will give them self-confidence for life, allow them to make choices based on their preferences despite social stereotypes, and grant them greater freedom when it comes to choosing what to study".
Jordi Serra, a researcher and also member of the faculty, said that "with every new start to the academic year at the university, we notice how few young women are embarking on science degrees in ICT or STEM fields […] this is very difficult to change and must be done from the ground up, when girls are ending primary school and have to choose what path to take next." He believes that "many are drawn to technology studies, but social stigma pushes them away into other fields". This is why the equit@T awards "focus specifically on this aspect and this age range of girls, to show them that it is entirely up to them to choose what they want to be when they grow up and not to conform to what everyone else wants for them".
Anna Murillo Brunet, a student on the Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and winner in the best professional/amateur gender and ICT video category last year, champions video production that inspires young people to change what they are against: "Young people were born into a world they did not choose, but they can choose to change it by making certain decisions over others. Let's motivate them to do just that, and let's show them how. Let's be more persistent by creating opportunities and content to bring about real change."
Research to achieve equality
In order to break down stereotypes and overcome the barriers that are keeping women away from science and technology degrees and careers, the UOC has its Gender and ICT (GenTIC) research group. It explores and analyses this reality through projects such as HORIGESTEM, a study about the importance of carrying out activities with female role models to foster interest in STEM fields among young people, especially young girls, and INSPIRE, a European consortium working to achieve inclusive gender equality in science and innovation.
Milagros Sáinz, leader of the GenTIC research group, which is affiliated with the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), said: "It is essential to place women at the centre of scientific and technological progress. In other words, not only as people who benefit from this progress, but as its very designers and producers." She added: "No more undervaluing their skills, abilities, interests and aspirations. It is high time we recognize the contributions of women to the various fields of knowledge."
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Professor and researcher in the Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunication