The Rector of the Universitat Jaume I (UJI), Eva Alcón, along with the Director of Espaitec, Juan Antonio Bertolín, welcomed year-2 Compulsory Secondary Education students from the «Violant de Casalduch» Institute of Benicasim to an event to encourage STEM vocations; that is, the vocations of the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, especially for female Secondary Education students.

Today a considerable gender gap exists in those professions and degrees linked with the four STEM disciplines. This had led Spanish Science and Technology Parks to promote diffusion and implication actions in STEM vocations coordinated through the Spanish National Association of Science and Technology Parks (APTE) in an attempt to correct this situation.

Espaitec organised an event in which students from the «Violant de Casalduch» Institute had the chance to personally live the experience of talking with successful female technicians and scientists who work in their surroundings, and to visit the exhibit «Women who changed the world», which outlined 35 profiles that have stood out in the technological or scientific sector throughout history.

During her speech, Alcón stressed that «despite a lower rate of women studying scientific careers than men, their academic outcomes are excellent». Bertolín stressed the importance of such initiatives, in which Espaitec organised this event for the second time in Castellón, to reinforce lack of professionals in STEM vocations by incorporating more women into those disciplines where more men tend to be present.

A round table was held later, in which the following people participated: Amelia Simó the Director of the School of Technology and Experimental Sciences of the UJI (ESTCE); Marianella Martínez the co-founder of technology companies Roofeco and BluePlasma Power; Susana Pérez the head of the Maintenance Project of BP Refinería of Castellón and coordinator of the bpSTEM programme since 2018. They stressed the need for more women to take up professional careers in the science domain, and dismissed the stereotype that these professions are for the male public because many women throughout history have made great achievements for humanity with improvements in many scientific and technological fields and disciplines which are now vital; medicine, biology, physics, chemistry, engineering, among others.

When the round table ended, the students participated in a series of theoretical-practical workshops, during which they formed groups led by a girl to build, learn and reflect on the different scientific concepts linked with the experiments they participated in.

Finally during this event, guides explaining the different opportunities in the STEM disciplines were handed out, which were designed by the Spanish National Association of Science and Technology Parks (APTE). The illustrated guide «What do I want to be when I´m grown up?» provides real examples of job opportunities and helps them to choose the disciplines that best match their profile, and the document «What are disruptive technologies?», created with the Spanish Technological Platform of Distruptive Technologies (DISRUPTIVE), showing the most disruptive technologies today, such as Cybersecurity, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, 5G and Quantum Computing, as well as the possible job opportunities in these areas. This material can be downloaded from this web.

This event has been possible thanks to financing from the Regional Valencian Government of Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society of the Generalitat Valenciana.