Activities of the Mexican Working Group

The following are the main activities our team have developed in Mexico after the IUPAP Conference on Women in Physics. While Ana María Cetto lives in Mexico City, two of us (Xóchitl López Lozano and Lilia Meza-Montes) live in Puebla City, one the biggest (regarding population and Physics) Mexican cities. For this reason, several of the activities took place in Puebla.

1.We collaborated, suggesting small changes, in the translation of the Conference Resolutions, with the Spain team. Besides, the (Mexican) Recommendations were translated to Spanish by Ana Ma. Cetto.

2. A report of the IUPAP Conference was published in the Mexican Physical Society’s Bulletin (Vol. 16, 77 (2002)). There, the creation of a Working Group within the Mexican Physical Society (SMF, as is known in Mexico) was proposed.

3.We participated in two radio interviews and one by telephone for a magazine.

4. We made contributions to the Forum Present and Future of Research in the University of Puebla, and the 8th Puebla Meeting of Physics Teaching and Research. We discussed the situation of women in physics and proposed some activities to improve it

We have a website, which is frequently updated. All the documents and contributions can be found in it

5.We are constructing a new website, devoted to the national Working Group activities.

6. We organized a Forum in Puebla, previous to the IUPAP Conference. During this Forum, the situation of Mexican female physicists was analyzed and several suggestions were made. Since then, a working group was formed in Puebla. We agreed to meet once a month, in order to organize and follow up our activities. Several committees were proposed. Unfortunately, in spite of the announcements and personal invitations, it turns out that every time less than ten women and men attend the meetings, half of them regularly. Nevertheless, except for December, the last wednesday of every month the meetings have been taking place, and after them we have coffee and talk with some other colleagues on gender issues. We decided to focus our attention on three issues: a survey, childcare service for students and the website. Following an important suggestion of the Forum, which stated the importance of helping each other to excel, we are now starting our meetings with a short session on several women issues. The sessions will be short courses, videos about women, etc.

7. Regarding to the survey, it has the goal of knowing the situation of female physicists at the national level. Only nine Mexican women participated in the IUPAP survey and beyond some statistics, a real knowledge of female scientists in Mexico is still missing. The APS Statistics Center sent us the survey with some suggestions. It has been translated to Spanish, some questions which do not apply to our situation were removed and some others added. It will be presented to the national Working Group. We intend to do this survey for men and women at the national level, with the support of the SMF.

8. We also contacted a local governmental institution, Women Institute of Puebla. We agreed to organize joint activities, as for example, the childcare service. Changes in the Institute’s administration canceled this project, however, we expect to get support for some other activities. As for the childcare, we are developing a project to install a small self-administrating center.

9. The website is under construction. It will contain the following sections: presentation, activities, news, links to related websites, and Registration.

10. Our annual National Physics Conference took place, starting on October 28 until November 1st, 2002. During a couple of days, we had a place were the poster presented at the IUPAP Conference was exhibited and we invited our colleagues to join our group. Definitely, it was a great experience because several colleagues let us know their points of view, specifically some doubts on the group aims and some helpful suggestions. On wednesday October 30th, the SMF’s General Assembly was held and our team made a presentation including some statistics of the situation of female physicists in our country and a report of our participation in the IUPAP Conference. We emphasized the lack of information on many aspects and the urgency of forming a Working Group. The proposal of forming the working group was accepted by the Assembly.

11. We will continue the monthly meetings at Puebla and the different activities we have committed to do. At the national level, the organizing committee will meet next month and the program of activities to be carried out will be defined. We expect this committee to adopt the activities that the small group has undertaken and, for sure, reinforce the work done until now.

Lilia Meza-Montes

Team Leader of Women in Physics in Mexico