The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which takes place on the 11th of February every year, was created by the United Nations as part of the ongoing effort to address gender imbalance in core STEM subjects and promote the participation of women in scientific roles.
Across 14 different countries, the percentage of women graduating from universities with degrees in science-related subjects are as follows:
- Bachelor's Degree: 18%
- Master's Degree: 8%
- PhD: 2%
These low figures are quite disheartening, as are reports that under 30% of scientific research and development roles are currently held by women.
The UN's International Day of Women and Girls in Science aims to encourage women and young girls to pursue an education or career in science and dramatically raise the above percentages.
Breaking Gender Stereotypes
To mark the occasion, we'd like to take a look at just some of the many prolific female scientists who have done vital work throughout history and helped to pave the way for gender equality in scientific fields:
Lise Meitner (1878-1968)
Lise Meitner was an Austrian-Swedish physicist who specialised in radioactivity and nuclear physics. Together with a select group of other scientists, she discovered nuclear fission of uranium - the basic principle of the nuclear weapons that were to follow.
Grace Hopper (1906-1992)
Grace Hopper was an American computer scientist. She was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark 1 computer, and she developed an early variation of the programming language COBOL which is still in use today.
Sandra Faber (1944- )
Sandra Faber is an astrophysicist specialising in the evolution of galaxies. Some of her important contributions to science include linking the brightness of galaxies to the speed of stars within them and helping to design the Keck telescopes in Hawaii.
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