Since the beginning of time, men have dominated women in every aspect both politically and scientifically. Women have been discriminated over the years and are not given the chance to explore their potential this has resulted in a misconception that women have no place in science and in decision making. This has in effect, brainwashed women into thinking that they are not capable of progressing in science fields.
In recent years however, organisations such as the United Nations (UN) has found a way to create a new generation of young aspiring women. International Day of Women and Girls in science was created to encourage women to take up jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM subjects).
Reports show that although there is no significant difference in ability between boys and girls in maths and science, less than 35 per cent of graduates in STEM subjects worldwide are women and there are even fewer in engineering and information technology.
Despite efforts being made to encourage women to partake more in the science field, there have not been a significant change. According to report by the UN, Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. Yet, women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science.
Although, in recent years, women have gotten more freedom to express themselves and take active part in the development of technologies, however, this is hindered by long-standing biases and gender stereotypes which is steering girls and women away from science related fields. According to a report conducted by UNESCO, “data gathered in 121 countries show that, women comprise 29 percent of researchers but there were big disparities among regions.
For example, in Latin America and the Caribbean, 46 percent of researchers are female and Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela have achieved gender parity. In Asia, women constitute only 18 percent of researchers overall. India and Japan have 13 percent female researchers and South Korea has 15 percent. In Africa, women comprise about 33 percent of researchers” (UNESCO 2009). These numbers show that women’s participation is very low. Even in the countries with comparatively high rates, women’s participation does not make even 50 per cent. These results show that gender inequality still exists in this sphere and it is necessary to pay scrupulous attention to this problem.
People realize the gender equality is one of the components of healthy society and true development is impossible without it. Furthermore, scientific and industrial field, as well as other technological industries are influenced and dominated by men. Despite the fact that there are women who have played an important role in the development of STI industry, their names are rarely mentioned. For example, Ada Byron King, the daughter of the famous Lord Byron, became the first computer programmer. She also was a prominent mathematician. Unfortunately, her name is rarely mentioned in the history of the development of the computer industry and when people speak about this sphere they remember the names of famous male specialists.
Additionally, Maria Gaetana Agnesi made a great contribution to the science by her work in differential calculus in 1700s. Sofia Kovalevskaya worked in 1800s in Russia. Her contribution to the development of astronomy and mathematics is hard to overestimate.
From recent history, it is worth to mention Grace Hopper, a PhD in mathematics. She became one of leaders on the field of software development and made a great contribution to the development of new programming techniques. Women need to acknowledged for their contribution just as much as their male counterparts. Despite the fact that women are being let down everyday in the society, international Day of Women and Girls in science serve as an occasion to motivate women to follow their dreams. And show them that it is possible to become whatever they want to become in the future. Just like the women that followed their dreams and contributed to the world of science, they as well can be a prominent figure in history.
Reflectively, these women did not let discrimination stop them from being what they wanted to become. It also serves as a reminder to every aspiring woman that the sky is the starting point, and no mountain is high enough not to climb, or no sea big not to sail. Everybody can become what they want to become if they keep on dreaming. Finally, women should be acknowledged for their work, and young girls should be encouraged to pursue more careers in science fields.