It’s National Science Day–Identifying the Importance of Science & Inclusion of Women & Girls in STEM
Can you imagine a world without cell phones? What do you think life would be without electricity? You most certainly wouldn't be using your microwave to reheat meals!
Science plays an important role in our world because it develops new technologies. Science has explored previously uncharted territory with self-driving cars, Martian rovers, prosthetic limbs folded with origami methods, and even quantum computing.
Technology developed by science supports a long and productive human existence. Because it promotes critical thinking, teamwork, and production among humans, science is crucial to our existence on Earth. This is why we celebrate National Science Day annually on February 28 to celebrate the wonders of science.
Science Helps Us Understand Our World Better
Science enables us to understand and engage with the world around us, from discovering the spherical form of the Earth to understanding gravity and climate change.
Thanks to the fundamental set of laws provided by science, we are able to live better on earth. The phenomena that we regularly experience can be explained by these sets of laws and utilized in the best ways to make life on earth better.
Science Is A Collaborative Process
Science is crucial because it unites people by bridging geographic boundaries and linguistic barriers. It enables us to exchange ideas in a public setting where they can then be validated or criticized.
Science must first go through a peer review process before being put to use or having an impact on our lives.
Technically speaking, this implies that the peers in the same field and academic level reviewed the papers, examined their experiments, looked into the findings, and underwent stringent vetting processes.
By doing this, the scientific community is able to collaborate and identify experimental flaws.
Science involves working together as a team. Thousands of experiments and dozens of scientists working to duplicate, support, or even refute a discovery are used to aid every discovery.
Each scientist contributes a concept to the greater scientific community, where the weaker ideas are replaced by more solid ones. As a result, this procedure brings together computer programmers with other professionals like chemists and mathematicians.
Women And Girls In Science
In honor of the third International Day of Women and Girls in Science, commemorated on 11th February annually, Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said:
"Inspirational women have made significant and vital contributions to the world of science throughout generations. Women have made and continue to make their unique mark in a variety of scientific and technological fields, starting with the fourth-century astronomer Hypatia and continuing through the Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani and Chinese scientist Tu You you who discovered the anti-malarial drug artemisinin.”
Numerous distinguished women from all across the world have also given the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change their distinct perspective. By doing this, they have given governments the proof and motivation they need to implement the Paris Climate Change Accord and address one of the biggest problems of our time.
But women continue to be underrepresented in the fields of science and engineering, robbing mankind of a crucial engine for creating a brighter future for both the present and the generations to come. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science ought to honor these individuals' accomplishments more. It ought to serve as the impetus for all countries and organizations to figure out how to effectively open the doors to this enormous talent pool. More chances, encouragement, and support at school for females to participate in the plethora of scientific and technological sectors that will shape all of our futures should be the first step.
How Can We Support Women And Girls In STEM?
Using all talent will be necessary to meet the biggest difficulties the world is currently experiencing. The full and equal engagement and leadership of women and girls in the science and technology communities is more crucial than ever as the world struggles to deal with COVID-19 and the grave climate issue. The time has come to acknowledge women's contributions to science, dispel prejudices, and end discrimination against women and girls in the field.
Just 33% of researchers worldwide are female, and females receive less financing for their work than men do, as well as having lower promotion rates. Women are underrepresented in company leadership positions and technical positions in the private tech industry as well. Only 22% of experts working in artificial intelligence and 28% of engineering grads are women. Our potential to develop inclusive, long-lasting solutions to contemporary problems and create a better society for all is constrained by these obvious under-representations.
The Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation was established in 2021 at the Generation Equality Forum, bringing together governments, for-profit businesses, the UN system, and civil society to make firm pledges to women and girls in STEM. The Action Coalition wants to ensure that women and girls actively contribute to finding answers to the biggest and most difficult problems in our lives by doubling the proportion of women working in technology and innovation by 2026.
What Can We Do At The Grassroots Level To Support Women In STEM?
Remove Gender Biases From Educational Materials
Remove gender biases from educational materials first. In contrast to how frequently women are portrayed as teachers, nurses, etc., such materials frequently use male role models for professions like engineers and scientists. Being exposed to a diversity of representations and role models is crucial since they help shape people's aspirations from a young age. However, research indicates that combining project-based learning, interactive experiences, and other strategies to connect STEM curricula to real-world contexts seems to appeal to girls more than using more conventional teaching techniques.
Support Strong Networking
Strong networks and mentorships encourage undergraduate students to stick in STEM fields at the tertiary level and beyond. According to research, women are also more likely to seek for (and receive) salary raises and report higher levels of work satisfaction when they have the support of a person or group with clout in their industry. Male coworkers must also be allies since eliminating gender stereotypes affects and helps everyone.
Over 40,000 low-income female students are receiving stipends as part of the World Bank's Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP) in Bangladesh, which has invested in 45 polytechnic institutes to improve female inclusion and deliver industry-relevant skills results. Female enrollment has increased from 5 percent to 14 percent.
Flexible Work Environments
Flexible work arrangements, paid parental leave, and childcare assistance are just a few retention-promoting policies that can help women, men, and employers alike. These policies are especially important during and after the pandemic. In lower- and middle-income countries, institutional childcare had a favorable influence on outcomes for mothers' labor markets (increased access to care, increased hours of care, or decreased cost of care), according to an analysis of 22 studies.
More than ever, it is essential to encourage girls and women to follow their goals and overcome both overt and covert restrictions that prevent them from succeeding in STEM professions.
It takes a lot of work to alter attitudes and build a more encouraging environment in homes, schools, institutions, and workplaces, supported by institutional reform and focused policies. It is necessary to combine short- and long-term actions. Society cannot risk losing the contributions made to innovation and technology by millions of girls and women.
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