In 2015 the United Nations proclaimed February 11th to be the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Why is it important to have such day?
Growing up in Jordan, I was fascinated with detective series and books; the passion grew with each episode of Crime Scene Investigation watched. Mainly, I was interested in the forensics work, that magic happening in the lab.
In school, biology and chemistry were always my go-to subjects. And afterwards, it seemed only natural for me to pursue a science path in my studies. It wasn’t the most popular option among my peers, perhaps, but for me it was the most exciting thing ever!
I ended up doing my PhD at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. In my climb up the knowledge ladder, I have since been faced with the reality that it is not an easy way up. While there is a big female representation in junior levels of the ladder, somehow less women are at the top.
According to UNESCO Science Report, only 33 % of the world’s researchers are women. In Europe, only 11 % of senior research roles are held by women. Compared to men, women’s careers in science tend to be shorter, less well-paid, and they tend to be underrepresented in high-profile journals. And though we are seeing more women being awarded the Nobel Prize, women laureates still amount to less than 4% of all winners in the history of the Prize.
Currently, our society is undergoing a big transformation led by science and technology. The world is changing, and we are changing the way we live and think. The jobs of the future are in artificial intelligence, robotics, genomics, biotechnology, and such. We see more and more girls and women getting involved in those disciplines, but there is still room for more.
Encourage future generations to get involved, advocate for gender equality in science and pay tribute to all the female researchers in the world.
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is a day that gives us the opportunity to highlight the role of women in STEM, encourage future generations to get involved, advocate for gender equality in science and pay tribute to all the female researchers in the world. It is an opportunity to promote awareness and increase engagement both nationally and internationally.
If you want to support women in STEM and spread the word, why not:
- Read an article or a book about women in science or explore a new female scientist that you didn’t know about?
- Follow a female scientist on their journey and listen to what they have to say (social media and podcasts are great!)?
- As a woman in STEM consider becoming a mentor for future generations of girls.
- Educate about the matter and encourage people to explore. Talk to your family, friends, and neighbours about it?
- Spread the word, share on social media. Use the following hashtags
No matter what your contribution is, it adds to our collective voice. Celebrate the great women around you, celebrate yourself and spread the word for a gender equal future in STEM.