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(press release Innoviris)
The WATS campaign, Women Award in Technology and Science, was launched on social media on January 18, 2021. The exciting videos of the candidates have been the subject of an intensive vote in recent weeks! In addition to these votes, a junior jury, made up of 5 motivated young girls, met to elect the Brussels science ambassador. Asma Boujtat, laboratory technologist, wins the WATS 2021 award.
The WATS prize was created by Innoviris to improve the representation of women in scientific fields. The campaign highlights women active in the world of technology and science. Women with interesting backgrounds who can be a source of inspiration for many young girls in 2021.
In the Brussels Region, more women than men start higher studies, in subjects such as social sciences (76% in secondary, 60% at university) and health sciences (60%) according to the study carried out by IBSA in collaboration with Innoviris. However, STEM orientations are the only ones where only 20% of high school students and 35% of university students are female. This under-representation is much stronger in Belgium than in almost all other European countries and those of the OECD.
Technology and science welcome women's intelligence and know-how with open arms in order to face the many challenges of these sectors, which are in dire need of additional "manpower".
As part of the WATS campaign, the candidates had the opportunity to make videos allowing them to enthusiastically share their different experiences, inspirations, typical day, their jobs and interests in science and technology.
The recognition, the creativity and the conviction that they would have a bright future in this more technical orientation, also played a major role for our candidates in their choice of studies.
All four videos were a big hit on our social networks. Everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, had the opportunity to vote for their favorite candidate, simply by "liking" her video. More than 7,400 people participated by voting on our social networks until February 8.
The WATS laureate has be announced on February 11, the day designated by UNESCO as the "International Day of Women and Girls in Science".
The goal of this day and that of WATS are the same: to get more young girls interested, to dare to lead and to develop in the field of STEM. In 2021, the laureate will participate in various campaigns and initiatives that are likely to increase young girls' enthusiasm for technology and science. In addition to the coveted prize, Asma Boujtat will also receive 10,000 euros to support her actions to promote scientific careers for women.
Barbara Trachte, Secretary of State for the Brussels-Capital Region in charge of Scientific Research supports this initiative:
“The election by Brussels residents of the science ambassador was a resounding success this year. I am delighted that, for this entirely digital edition, we have gone a step further in the solicitation of the public, by mixing the votes obtained via social networks and those of the members of the junior jury made up of high school students, including the mission was to challenge the candidates for the WATS award. Promoting science to female audiences is essential to achieve greater inclusion in these sectors, but doing so with a strong participatory dimension, as Innoviris does, is even more effective. I look forward to following the initiatives that will be launched by Ambassador Asma Boujtat among young people. Well done to all the candidates, who gave themselves to the campaign, and who I am sure will continue to carry the message of inclusion in STE (A) M aloud. "