Written by IEEE | February 10, 2017 | Updated: April 3, 2017
Two years ago, the United Nations designated February 11 as International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The day was established in order to recognize the critical role that women and girls play in the world of science and technology.
According to the UN, only 28 percent of the current researchers in the world are women. Culture and history, not nature, create most of the discrepancies between men and women in science. While many of these invisible barriers have been broken by women, there are still many challenges in getting girls and women to pursue careers in science.
The recent film, Hidden Figures, highlights some of the challenges that women faced in the 1960s working in a field dominated by men. The movie tells the real-life story of three female African-American mathematicians who helped John Glenn orbit the Earth. These women’s huge accomplishments in the scientific field were not recognized at the time, and they are finally getting the attention they deserve now through this film.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science puts the spotlight on celebrating women who work in science, while also encouraging women and girls to explore science or STEM-based careers. This day is also a step in the right direction for women and girls all over the world to achieve gender equality and empowerment in the fields of science.