Women and Girls in Science!

March 07, 2019
Madison Weisend ’20 Environmental Studies and Political Science
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Only 1 in 3 girls select to study STEM in higher education. This month, on the 11th of February, we celebrated the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. As an NGO intern at the United Nations, I was able to attend a panel discussion of global women in science representatives. I sat in a United Nations conference room with hundreds of women and girls from across the globe to celebrating their scientific achievements. As a young female studying Environmental Studies, it was an honor to attend the event.

Levey, a 17-year-old aspiring medical doctor, moderated the panel with confidence and dignity. She is a leading member of “Girls in Science SDGs,” a group of powerful young women working at the UN to amplify the need for women and girls in science. She brought up the fact that a lot of girls, most especially in developing nations, don’t have any female role models in science, which leads them to believe that they belong elsewhere. Girls are even taken out of school to take on domestic duties, which puts even greater limitations on their ability to pursue a career in science. She also noted that women who already have STEM careers are often don’t have the support from their husbands to continue their career after having children. Levey called for audience members to support mothers, and make it known that their talent is necessary and valued in the STEM world. The women scientists speaking on the panel applauded her ability to speak so passionately about the cause.

Inga Rhonda Kind, President of the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations, spoke about the necessity of women in science for the eradication of poverty, as well as the achievement of food security around the world. She stated that only 28.8% of global researchers are women, saying “We are losing a critical mass of talent.” The input of women also produces science that is more varied in results and more societally relevant, which are vital to find comprehensive solutions to the world’s greatest issues. The panel ended with references to the many women scientists who went unnoticed throughout their careers, despite their groundbreaking research. Young women scientists like me continue to look at the history of women scientists as well as those women scientists of today as role models for our future.