Women, Girls and Science

The UN has identified February 11 as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. According to the organization, the background for this day is summarized as follows:

A significant gender gap has persisted throughout the years at all levels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world. Even though women have made tremendous progress towards increasing their participation in higher education, they are still under-represented in these fields.

 

As part of this day, three questions were asked to the women of K2 Geospatial team.

  • Why did you choose to pursue a career in a STEM?
  • Who is a woman working in a STEM-related field that you find inspiring?
  • What is your view on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science?

Their answers are all more interesting, and you'll find that regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the celebration of this day, women-men inequality must be addressed.

 

Q1

  • I really discovered physics when I was 15 years old, and I was impressed by how much it explains about the world around me. From that point on, I knew I needed to learn more, so I chose physics for my undergraduate degree. Physics has shaped my reasoning, my way of seeing the world. It allows me to always try to find the simplest and most elegant solution to a problem. Even if I don't do anything directly related to physics anymore, it is thanks to this field that I am where I am, both professionally and personally.
  • I chose ecology and environment at age 17 because I had a thirst for adventure and I am very curious. My undergraduate and graduate education in the science gave me an understanding of the world around me and a wonder that never ceases. It also gave me some urgency to act to protect our Earth. Subsequently, geomatics gave me a range of tools and approaches to working with land data. The science has shaped the woman I am and have given me the wealth of insight and analysis that I apply in all areas of my life.
  • My academic and professional background has allowed me to touch a variety of fields. Therefore, I indirectly chose a field related to STEM. However, being part of the K2 Geospatial team has allowed me to see the impact that women and girls have in science. In a field where men make up the majority of workers, women's and girls' ideas, knowledge, and skills can really make a difference.
  • At the beginning of my studies, I wanted to work in the natural sciences, to be in laboratories. Technology and computer science was not my first choice. However, after five years in the field, I became technology enthusiast.
  • I made the decision to pursue a career in geomatics because it aligned with my interests. I was always told that if I wanted to do something, I could do it and I had to give it my best. That's exactly what I did, regardless of the inequality between women and men in this field.
  • Since high school, I was interested by science and mathematics. I started a bachelor's degree in mathematics with the idea of becoming an actuary. However, I decided to turn to a different field. I ended up in geomatics, a field I had never heard of before I decided to take part in it.

Q2

  • All women in all fields are inspiring.
  • Katherine Johnson
  • Dr. Renee Horton
  • Jane Goodall
  • Farah Alibay
  • Chantal Arguin
  • Any woman who makes her mark in her field inspires me.

Q3

  • During my undergraduate degree, I had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CCUWiP). I saw how much discrimination and stigma women face in the scientific field. And how strong we are in overcoming them and inspiring new generations of little girls to pursue their dreams, even if it means facing all these things along the way. The truth is simple, the STEM world needs these women. We are just as bright and sometimes even more resilient than our male counterparts. Women in STEM deserve to be treated without discrimination and given the same opportunities as men.
  • This day is a reminder of how women have been pushed aside and out of science. Equality between women and men has not been achieved. The fact that there are women and girls in science should not be identified as exceptional. On the contrary, it should be seen as regular/common.
  • I think it is important for women and girls to know that there are no limits to what they can do in science. We are as talented as men in all areas of STEM. I also think that the scientific research system will have to change in its functioning to allow women and men to better reconcile family life with work in science and not to penalize those who wish to dedicate time to their children. The increased presence of women in the higher categories of scientific systems will only benefit us all.
  • Inspiring and promoting the participation of women and girls in science should be part of our daily lives. However, February 11 is a day to bring the international community together and to put forward major advocacy efforts to achieve more and more gender equality in science each year.
  • I am unaffected by this day, because I believe that there is no field more important than another. All professions have an impact and are essential in the community. However, it is obvious that equality between women and men is not yet achieved throughout society. So perhaps international days help to raise awareness of particular situations.
  • I believe that the International Day of Women and Girls in Science is a good thing. Although inequality between women and men still exists, this day is an opportunity to remind women that they can do what they want, evolve and succeed.
  • There are women-men inequalities in various fields and they are not the focus of an international day. Carrying such a cause adds weight to the situation and increases the visibility of the issue that women have been experiencing for many years in STEM. However, these types of days can provide a platform for various stakeholders to share their opinions and thus give them a voice.
  • If the International Day of Women and Girls in Science is still held in 2022, there is a reason. Maybe it's a way to raise awareness of the inequality present in STEM fields, to stimulate the motivation of young girls to pursue a STEM profession, or to encourage women to do what they love and take their place in that field.

 

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