Saturday, 8 March 2014

Inspirational Women in...

Women in Science!

For this year's International Women's Day, I thought I'd do a little post on something that maybe doesn't get spoken about enough, but is important to me as a woman. 
As some of you may already know from my bio etc., I'm currently studying for a degree and it's in science. My dream after I graduate is to go on to study for a PhD but this is not the case for most women.

Science even today is still a very male orientated field, with the few women at the top of their game often being forgotten by the general public. If a list of inspirational men were to be made, Sir David Attenborough, Steven Hawkins, Albert Einstein, would all be on there somewhere. Even just a list on solely inspirational men in science would be easy to achieve for anyone. 
But yesterday and today when I was reading people and companies' lists of inspirational women, not one had anything to do with science. There were lots of arts and humanitarians of course, celebrities, entrepreneurs/business women, athletes and even the odd politician (or close enough), but where are the women we can celebrate and look up to in hard academia?  We have male scientist celebrities with their own shows such as Sir David Attenborough and Professor Brian Cox, but any women?? Sadly, not yet. This means that there is a gaping hole where our young girls of the future are not able to be inspired by women who have excelled in science.

However, this means there is an opening. Now is our chance to push, strive and succeed. 
Of course we need to keep fighting to enable equal access to education for girls and women but the fight's not over when they're in. Girls need to be encouraged to achieve just as high standards, if not higher, than their male peers in school, college and higher. Women can be just as successful in science as men and there's no reason why we cannot be celebrated for it either! 

The best way to get a little inspiration from women at the cutting edge of discovery is to watch talks on They are often short and punchy so don't be afraid to check them out.
Here's one of my favourites!
It was presented in 2007 by Carolyn Porco, a Planetary scientist. Even though I am not studying in here field, I was still very inspired by her talk. She was one of the very few to actually get a standing ovation and when you watch it you can see why! (Skip 7 minutes in if you do not have time to watch the whole thing).

My little list of current inspirational women, worth looking up, are:
  • Jane Goodall - Primatologist and environmentalist

  • Elizabeth Loftus - Psychologist
  • Emma Teeling - Zoologist

  • Sarah-Jayne Blakemore - Cognitive Neuroscientist

  • Elizabeth H. Blackburn - 2009 Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology or Medicine with...
  • Carol W. Greider - They won in the field of genetics for: "the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase"
  • Ada E. Yonath - 2009 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry for: "studies of the structure and function of the ribosome"
Interesting conversations on this topic have been featured on the news this year, such as Sky News. Here's a link to an article 'Pink Won't Make Girls Think, Says Govt Minister' published on 6th February and from there you can read another called 'Is Pink Holding Girls Back?' published the same day, as well as two videos 'Getting Girls Into Science' and 'Call For More Women In Science' (I couldn't link to these individually).

What are your views and experiences?
Were you discouraged from science at school? Do you study a science subject?
I would love to hear your thoughts!


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