To highlight the critical role that women have played in science, and to further empower women and girls who aspire to work in science, the United Nations General Assembly decided in 2015, to make 11th February the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
According to Wise Campaign, there were more than 1.1 million women in core STEM occupations in the UK in 2020, taking up 24.2% of the workforce in the field. And according to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women.
These statistics may not seem very high, but there has been a lot of effort to see their growth. The 2022 International Day of Women and Girls in Science Assembly certainly sees the collaboration and participation of nations from Africa, Europe, America, and Asia.
Women in STEM from 2019 to 2020:
Credit to WISE Campaign
As part of the wider science industry, we’re also taking part in the celebration of such a special occasion. And we’re doing so by sharing some of our favourite examples of female scientific achievements that put significant milestones in the history of scientific development:
“Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood.”
Marie Curie was a Polish/ French physicist and chemist active in the late 19th – early 20th century. She conducted pioneering research on radioactivity and became the first female to win a Nobel Prize. In 1906, she also became the first female professor at the University of Paris.
“As much as we need a prosperous economy, we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency.”
Caroline Herschel was a pioneer within the world of astronomy. During her time, she discovered several famous comets and even had one named after her. Caroline was so revered within the industry she was the first woman to receive a salary as a scientist. In addition, she was the first woman to hold a government position in the UK.
“The world has used me so unkindly, I fear it has made me suspicious of everyone.”
Born in 1799, Mary Anning was an English fossil collector and palaeontologist. Mary is best known for her work with Jurassic and marine fossils. Her findings contributed to a huge shift in knowledge and understanding about prehistoric life and the Earth’s history.
“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”
Grace Hopper made huge contributions to the computer sciences which are still used today. She is best known for the design, development and execution of programming languages and software.
“If women can be railroad workers in Russia, why can't they fly in space?”
Last, but certainly not least, Valentina Tereshkova was the first and youngest woman to have flown into space. To add to this fantastic achievement, Valentina completed her mission solo and remains the only woman to do so.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science is a celebration of female innovators within the world of Science. If you would like to learn more about this event, click on this link.