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» News » Corporate news » Ángela Varo: “Women who have made historic contributions to science have been totally ignored”

Ángela Varo: “Women who have made historic contributions to science have been totally ignored”

We spoke to Ángela Varo, a Regulatory Expert in Tradecorp’s Global Regulatory Affairs Department and the Chairwoman of the Spanish Task Force in the European Biostimulants Industry Council (EBIC).

To mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we asked her about the role of women and girls in science and how the situation has changed over the years. These were her answers.

1.- Can you briefly describe the line of work you are involved in at your company? 

My job currently focuses on providing regulatory support to the different regions and business units in Mexico and Central America, as well as assisting in new product development and organic agriculture certifications, based on different global regulations. 

I belong to one of the company’s most diverse teams with members from different countries, which provides an international, highly enriching environment. It is a key department in the marketing of Tradecorp’s products worldwide, as our main task is to register fertilisers and biostimulants. 

2.- How would you encourage women and girls to pursue a career in science and why do you think girls don’t choose scientific and technical degrees?  

In my opinion, women who have made historic contributions to science have been totally ignored. These women have been forgotten and have consequently not been able to act as role models for subsequent generations of girls and women, who have been made to think that science is a male thing. This feeds stereotypes and means that women represent a much smaller percentage than men in scientific and technical degrees. Efforts are being made at the momentthough they are insufficient, to make these women visible again so that they can serve as an inspiration for girls and young women. We need to start with school textbooks, by focusing on the education and visibility of women in science. If we do not learn about what great female scientists have done, they will never be able to serve as role models for future generations! 

3.- How has the nature of your profession changed since you were a student? 

The agricultural industry is still very much a male domain, although women are slowly starting to occupy positions that could balance out the numbers in the future. 

For example, when I studied agricultural engineering, women represented approximately 30% of students… and we are talking about the 21st century! Today, fortunately, the percentage of women is almost 50%. 

4.- Do you take part in any educational or social activities that encourage girls to choose STEM careers? 

I usually take part in the Researchers’ Night, in the organisation of activities to bring science closer to a wider audience and, above all, to encourage girls and young women to move into science. 

5.- Have you come across any hurdles in your professional career because you are a woman? 

As women, most of us have felt at some time that our opinion is less highly valued than that of a man just because we are female. And if you are young, it is even worse. When I have found myself in this situation, I have tried not to let it affect me too much, because these situations can be very unpleasant. 

6.- Do you think that the female vision adds value to science? 

Of course it does, women have a very diverse vision and we provide a different perspective. Moreover, we tend to be good at solving problems and, above all, we are good team players. Curiosity and attention to detail are also essential qualities for STEM careers, and these tend to be very feminine skills. 

Brief CV

    • My current position at Tradecorp International is as a regulatory expert and I have been part of the Global Regulatory Affairs Department for about a year. 
    • I am also the Chairwoman of the Spanish Task Force in the European Biostimulants Industry Council (EBIC). I am an Agricultural Engineer and hold a PhD from the University of Cordoba. I did my PhD on the biological control of verticillium, a very serious disease affecting olive trees. I have a Master’s degree in Rural Development and I am currently doing an Executive International Management programme. 
    • My professional career has been spent in the biostimulant sector, working from the initial R&D stage through to strategic product launches.