So, as I mentioned in my introduction thread, I’m a chemist-in-training. Although science has made great strides in women’s participation, there’s still a definite gender gap. Not only that, but there are definite cultural problems in science that make it a less-than-ideal atmosphere for women. There’s sexual harassment. There’s devaluing of women’s work and research. There are few women professors, particularly in chemistry, physics, and engineering. And there’s the problem that equal representation still reads like overrepresentation. By that I mean, when there are equal numbers of women and men in a department or lab, people perceive the space as dominated by women. But, when people mention that there are “so many women here,” I often count and find that, no, there are still far fewer women at the conference or whatever than men, particularly at high levels.
So, this is one of my personal crusades. Get the girls in your life to do science. Take her to a science museum, get her science books from the library, get her scientist dress-up clothes, grow salt crystals, get a home chemistry book/set. There are so many ways to introduce science to girls, and that’s where it has to happen. Most scientists that I know became passionate about science from a really young age, and girls need to see that women can do science.
I’m actually off to do some demos at my local science museum, but I’ll leave you with an awesome link to and video about the Beauty of Chemistry exhibit in Dublin.