This past Monday, Feb. 11, the women and girls in the science trade, currently or whom have already conquered the field, were celebrated around the globe. This is the fourth annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science and theme for this year’s event was “Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth.”
This globally recognized holiday, first celebrated in 2016 but concocted in April of 2015, is meant to shed light on the fact that less than 30 percent of our world’s researchers are women and just around 30 percent of higher education students in STEM-related fields are female. The United Nations said that one of the biggest pushes for this international day of observance was a study done by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, writing, “As in the real world, the world on screen reflects similar biases.” In the 2015 Gender Bias Without Borders report, only 12 percent of onscreen characters with identifiable STEM careers were women.
The hashtag “#WomenInScience” was trending on Twitter internationally as users were sharing gender stereotype-defying stories and messages of support to their fellow women in science.
A collaborative effort between various organizations, International Day of Women and Girls in Science has been a success from the start. United Nations Secretary-General addressed the public saying, “We must tackle misconceptions about girls’ abilities. We must promote access to learning opportunities for women and girls, particularly in rural areas. And we must do more to change workplace culture so that girls who dream of being scientists, engineers and mathematicians can enjoy fulfilling careers in these fields.”
In a time when the world can be cruel and unforgiving, especially to women, this is a necessary relief for all. It’s clear from the data that women and girls still have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to leveling the scientific playing field, but we can take solace in the fact that there are people (and lots of them) who are determined to help us do just that.