Empowering Women's Voices: Prof. Azul A. Aguiar-Aguilar on International Women's Day and International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Empowering Women's Voices: Prof. Azul A. Aguiar-Aguilar on International Women's Day and International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Publication date: Thu, 07 Mar 2024

Today is International Women's Day, commemorated under the theme Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress. Another recent United Nations Day, International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February, also focused on Women in Science Leadership: A New Era for Sustainability. These UN Days serve as a crucial reminder of the ongoing efforts to promote gender equality in science and social sciences and empower women globally.

On these two UN Days, IPSA takes the opportunity to raise awareness of the under-representation of women in political science and to highlight the achievements of successful women scientists in our field. According to United Nations data, a gender gap remains prevalent in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields worldwide. Despite progress made by women in higher education, they are still under-represented in many areas. IPSA is a first-hand witness to gender disparity in political science since it releases regular reports on Gender and Diversity Monitoring. These reports offer an unprecedented and comprehensive international perspective on the topic of gender disparity in political science.

On this occasion, IPSA invites you to meet Dr. Azul A. Aguiar-Aguilar, Professor of political science in the Department of Sociopolitical and Legal Studies at ITESO, the Jesuit University of Guadalajara, Mexico, IPSA Executive Committee member and 2025 IPSA World Congress Program Co-Chair. She is an example of how successful women scholars can make a difference in our field.

Prof. Aguiar-Aguilar emphasized the significance of the International Women's Day and the International Day of Women and Girls in Science in raising awareness of the challenges that women still face in many parts of the world. She believes that women's rights and gender parity are ongoing battles that we must continue to fight and that institutions should incorporate a gender perspective into their processes. Prof. Aguiar-Aguilar highlights statistics demonstrating the gender disparity in faculty positions, publications, research grants, and prizes. These figures underscore the longstanding under-representation of women and prompt reflection on best practices for achieving gender equality in political science and beyond.

Prof. Aguiar-Aguilar holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Florence, Italy. She chose to study political science after discovering during her master's degree that politicians were responsible for many of Mexico's justice-sector institutions' underperformance. She also sought to understand why some countries' judiciaries issue verdicts against corrupt politicians while others do not, despite the evidence. For the past 20 years, Prof. Aguiar-Aguilar has researched the performance of justice-sector institutions in Mexico and Latin America, including High Courts, Public Prosecutor’s Offices, Public Defender’s Office, and the Police. Her studies aim to improve the effectiveness of judicial institutions, particularly in countries where the rule of law is fragile.

Prof. Aguiar-Aguilar has led and participated in several projects on the roles of courts and the Public Prosecutor's Office. She currently serves as a co-chair for the Democracy Observatory in Latin America, an initiative of the Latin American Association of Jesuit Universities that brings together over 20 universities and 30 researchers to analyze the challenges democracy faces in the region. She is an active member of several political science associations and was recently elected as the first woman president of the Mexican Political Science Association (2023-2025).