How to Celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science
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Over the years, we’ve seen more young girls and women entering the science field, but the fact remains that they still make up less than 30 percent of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce in many countries. In 2015, the inaugural High-Level World Women’s Health and Development Forum declared February 11 as International Day of Women and Girls in Science, in order to dismantle gender stereotypes and gender inequality in STEM, encourage people to join the conversation, and educate and take action. If you’re wondering how you can celebrate all the girls and women in the science field, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how you can show your support (and save a few bucks too!).
Visit a (Virtual) Science Museum
If the last time you visited a science museum was during a third-grade field trip, then it’s time to schedule another visit, especially with the kiddos (if you have them). Because of the ongoing pandemic, many museums are either temporarily closed or have limited visiting hours, but you can still visit via virtual tours or web events. Head on over to the Smithsonian’s online events calendar and book a virtual event or activity, which is usually free admission.
You can also check out the archives on their website and read through their Women in Science Wednesday blog posts. If you are itching to spend money, browse the Smithsonian Museum Store and pick up a science kit or book either created or written by a woman.
Read Books Either About or Written by Girls and Women in Science
Whether you’ve watched the movie or read the book, Hidden Figures is one example of a true story about Black women mathematicians who helped win the space race — and it was written by a Black woman named Margot Lee Shetterly. As a matter of fact, Shetterly founded the Human Computer Project, which aims to recover the names and accomplishments of all the women who worked in STEM at the NACA and NASA from 1930 to 1980. History may have tried to keep women in the shadows, but today’s women are bringing them to light!
Grow your TBR list with books either about or written by girls and women in science such as No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by the famous young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and Alpha Girls by Julian Guthrie.
Work on a Science Kit
Are the kids getting bored at home? Instead of having them glued to their iPads and Nintendo Switches, give them a science kit that everyone in the family can work on together. If you have a little girl who’s unsure of what she’s interested in learning about, playing with a science kit is a great primer. Pick up a 4M Weather Science Kit that teaches young kids and teens about climate change and global warming, or build a Steam Door Alarm that’s in the shape of a robot.
Science kits introduce a different level of interactivity and education that kids wouldn’t get from staring at a screen. They’ll be more interested in learning if you join in — just remember to be enthusiastic and have patience! Everyone learns at their own pace, and who knows, maybe you’re a slower learner than your own kids!
Listen to Science Podcasts Hosted by Women
Learning about science doesn’t have to be primarily through textbooks. For a modern approach, refresh your podcast library with science podcasts hosted by women! It’s the perfect way to pass the time while you’re on the road or trying to get work done. Listen to Beyond the Microscope, which is basically conversations with women who work in STEM, or Ologies, which is hosted by science correspondent Alie Ward, for a good laugh. If you want to show some love to these creators, specifically for Ologies, shop their merch collection or become a Patron on their Patreon for exclusive first-look and BTS content.
These are just two of many science podcasts created and/or hosted by women. The next time you’re stuck in traffic, browse the podcast library and listen to intelligent women educate or nerd out about all sorts of scientific topics. It’s definitely better than listening to a lecture in a classroom!
Volunteer at or Donate to Organizations That Support Girls and Women in STEM
Although the number of women working in STEM is increasing, that doesn’t mean there are equal opportunities or a healthy work environment once they make it in the field. The same can be said for young girls, who should receive the same opportunities as young boys and men. As a way of ensuring girls and women can not only have STEM careers, but also establish equality and respect, you can become a volunteer or donor to numerous organizations that promote and support girls and women in STEM.
A few organizations are the National Girls Collaborative Project, whose goal is to make sure every girl has access to resources that enhance STEM education and interest; Women in Engineering Proactive Network, which “works to transform culture in engineering education to attract, retain, and graduate women"; and the American Association of University Women, whose mission is to integrate women in STEM.
Purchase Scholarly Articles Written by Women in Science
Whether you’re a student or a fellow scientist, reading up on scholarly articles written by women in science is another way to show support. There are plenty of resources that are free, but you can also purchase a copy of these articles for your own research or curiosity. ScienceDirect and IEEE Xplore are noteworthy resources where you can typically find scholarly articles related to STEM.
An article or two goes a long way, especially when you’re trying to save and don’t want to buy a thick and expensive science textbook. Prices vary and depend on the type of subscription, granting you either limited or unlimited access to the resource database. Once you’ve subscribed, though, make sure to keep an eye out for articles researched and written by women, and cite them in your research paper!