Friday 11th February 2022 is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day which aims to recognise the role of women and girls in science, not only as beneficiaries, but also as agents of change.
It's no secret that women are underrepresented in the STEM roles. Globally, only 33 per cent of researchers are women, and they are awarded less research funding than men, and are less likely to be promoted.
As a business, Vantage aims to promote women in STEM regularly, by supporting our clients to recruit a diverse workforce, and promoting the benefits of STEM careers to women and girls in our local community. We are also proud to be partnered with the Women in Engineering Society, who have a rich heritage of inspiring, supporting and developing women in engineering.
This is a day that allows us to put women’s accomplishments in science on a pedestal and focus on girls who are wanting to pursue STEM careers.
To celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science, here is a list of 5 inspiring women in STEM who defied the gender gap:
Marie Curie is one of the most well-known women in the history of STEM fields, notably winning the Nobel Prize in two separate scientific fields: physics and chemistry. Marie Curie is remembered for her discovery of radium and polonium, and her huge contribution to finding treatments for cancer.
Katherine Johnson was an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics were instrumental in sending NASA’s first crewed spaceflight to the moon in 1969. She also overcame racial and gender hurdles that helped make giant leaps for humankind.
Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer. In 1843 Ada wrote the world’s first machine algorithm of an early computing machine that existed only on paper. This was at a time where women could hardly access basic education, let alone a scientific one.
In 1978, Lydia helped to discover how bacterial cells could be utilised to generate insulin. She helped find a molecule responsible for the degeneration of brain cells in Alzheimer’s disease, which lead to an entire field devoted to the research of how to diagnose and treat the disease.
Rosalind Franklin was instrumental in discovering the structure of DNA. Her X-ray diffraction images of DNA allowed the University of Cambridge’s Francis Crick and James Watson to identify the double helix structure. At the time of her death, she was working on the molecular structure of viruses with her colleague Aaron Klug, who later received a Nobel Prize for the work in 1982. However, in 2003 the Royal Society founded the Rosalind Franklin Award to highlight her outstanding work and celebrate the work of women in STEM.
This short list is just a small part of a huge list of female-identifying professionals who have completely changed the course of history through their inspiring work. They are a great example of what can be achieved by women who pursue a career in STEM and show how both the gender and racial gap can be defied.
Which women have inspired you to embark on a career in STEM?