The sciences have always been something of a boys’ club. Science and technology programs across the country have tried to change that. Courses, activities, and afterschool programs offer girls the chance to engage with more STEM-centered activities. What is STEM? It’s a collective term to include science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Does that mean that more women pursue careers in the fields of science?
Historic Female Achievements
It’s no secret that recent research has shown the importance of women behind many scientific milestones. One of the most famous female scientists, Marie Curie, was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. Not only that, but she is the only woman to win the prize twice. Curie is famous for her work in both physics and chemistry. She stands as one of the few early examples of female recognition in the sciences. Her achievements paved the way for women throughout STEM for years to come.
One of the next female trailblazers in science was Rosalind Franklin. Franklin contributed a great deal of research to the discovery of the double helix. Watson, Crick, and Wilkins, all men, famously won the Nobel Prize in 1962. Franklin died of cancer four years prior and was never given recognition by the Nobel Committee.
Other women have famously done incredible work in science. During the Space Race, NASA employed a group referred to as the Human Computers. This group used female mathematicians to analyze and calculate data from various tests. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson are three of the most notable of this group. In 2016, there story was the subject of a book penned by Margot Lee Shetterly.
Women make strides in the sciences every single day. There are many modern women at the top of their diverse fields. Archaeologist Holley Moyes, HIV researcher Kelly Mugo, and social psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt lead the way with the work that they do. These women, as well as those throughout the STEM community, receive far more recognition than those that came before them. They each serve as a role model for tomorrow’s female scientists. .
Females in science and technology will continue to innovate just as they always have.
Resources for Girls
Future innovators have many resources today. Countless programs exist for young women interested in STEM. The Girl Scouts of America has been a staple in this country for decades. They now provide opportunities for girls to get involved in science, technology, and mathematics. They have developed specific K-12 programs to generate scientific curiosity in young women’s lives. The Girl Scouts have also formed strategic initiatives with large tech companies to provide girls with the kind of STEM education they need to become tomorrow’s trailblazers.
Other organizations provide much needed resources for girls interested in STEM. The National Girls Collaborative Project offers a service known as the Connectory. This database serves as a resource for programs offering STEM-related projects. Programs from different organizations can collaborate and provide the best for girls who want to learn more about science, technology, and mathematics. It also serves as a great resource for parents. The international search allows parents to find STEM education in their local area.
In addition to these, there are countless free resources available online. Many tech and engineering companies offer courses in their respective fields. Other courses allow girls to interact with real experts and scientific situations. CanTEEN, PBS Sci Girls, GC3, and Generating Girls’ Opportunities have diverse tools to help foster any girl’s inquisitive mind. By having these available, girls can prepare for challenging, exciting experiences in the STEM world.
The Future of Women in Science
The scientific and technological landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Every single day, innovations in the sciences change the way that people live. STEM-related careers are more important than ever. As colleges and universities across the country enroll more women than ever, it stands to reason that more women will become interested in degrees related to science and technology.
Global challenges require creative solutions from the world’s top minds. Diversity is key when tackling these complex problems. No longer can the same kinds of people attempt to solve the problems facing the modern world. Promoting more inclusive points of view from women and others gives way to collaboration. Teamwork and dynamic problem solving grow the field and produce the best outcomes for the world at large.
Estimates show that more women enter into scientific study in college. Fostering that interest from an early age works. The issue comes after graduation. Recruiting women for STEM fields is easy. Retaining them and finding good jobs in such a competitive, often biased, job market is not. Women face challenges when searching for gainful post-graduation employment. Experts have shown that science is still very much a male-dominated discipline. Misogyny and sexism still occur. Though, it has improved over the years. Things have changed somewhat. Yet, intelligent women of passion and poise still face challenges when pursuing what they love.
Over the years, there have been great strides made to expand STEM programs for all. Far more young women develop an interest in technology and science than ever before. They know that they will receive recognition for their work. With these new resources available, it stands to reason that women can play a bigger role in scientific discourse. The potential is there. There has been an increase in the amount of women getting into STEM fields. Only time will tell if the trend continues. Women in science will continue to be the practical, creative, and dynamic trailblazers they’ve always been.