International Day of Women and Girls in Science is a movement that encourages young women and girls to pursue their ambitions and dreams in the field of science. It is an initiative that seeks to break down barriers and provide opportunities.
On this day, we celebrate and reflect on the progress of women and girls in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. And we recommit to supporting them in these fields.
In this regard, we have seen significant progress in science and technology over the past few decades. However, according to AAUW, women account for only 28% of science, engineering, and technology (STEM) professionals worldwide. In South Africa, less than 13% of women choose to study in STEM disciplines, with men accounting for up to 28%, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2021. This lack of diversity in science can have a significant impact on young girls’ views and understanding of gender equality.
The global impact of women in science is undeniable, and their contributions are essential to the advancement of science, as well as society. Women in science have consistently made important contributions to the field. For example, Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in physics, and she did so twice. Additionally, Rosalind Franklin was the first woman to identify the structure of DNA. Since then, women have continued to make ground-breaking discoveries and contributions to the field.
One of the most important things we can do to help create a more inclusive society is to encourage girls to pursue careers in science. Science is one of the most important fields of study, and the contributions of women in science have been essential to advancing our understanding of the world around us. “At Kingsmead College, is a place where girls take centre stage on multiple levels. This too mimics our current reality, where they occupy a seat in government, a space in engineering, and in the technological and robotics arena’s, “Tarryn Mclaren, Deputy Head of Senior Primary. So, it is our responsibility that every aspect of our school is designed for girls, creating an environment that adds opportunities for girls. ‘Whether our students want to be an astronaut, engineer, author, or medical professional, girls need to know—not just think, but really know, deep down at a metacognitive level—there’s nothing that can stand in their way.”
Encouraging girls to pursue these careers is important, not only because of the contributions they can make, but also because it can help break down gender stereotypes. When girls do not see themselves in ‘traditionally masculine roles’, they may begin to doubt their own abilities. However, when we encourage them to pursue careers in science, we can help them to realise their full potential and achieve their goals.