Women scientists are leading some of the most ground-breaking research around the world. Yet, despite their incredible breakthroughs, women make up just 33% of researchers globally, and their work was and continues to be played down, rarely gaining the recognition it deserves. Less than 4% of Nobel Prizes have been awarded to women, and only 11%* of senior research roles are held by women in Europe.
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While the world of science has been dominated by male scientists, some of the most ground-breaking discoveries have been led by pioneering women. From their pioneering vision to their vital work and expertise, without them, who knows how long we would have waited for discoveries, or if the discoveries would ever have been made.
Thanks to the work of leading female scientists, from Rosalind Franklin in the discovery of the structure of DNA to Marie Curie in the discovery of plutonium, radium, and application of radiation in medicine, Caroline Herschel in the discovery of many astronomical entities, Mary Anning in her work as a Palaeontologist, and many more; women have played a huge role in science at a time when women had very little social freedom as they do today. So, the question remains; why are so few women taking up the sciences as an academic and eventually a career choice, compared to men?
Despite facing numerous challenges and biases, women in science have made remarkable progress in recent years. Discussing the reasons why few women go on to pursue careers in science does bring up points of contention: lack of role models, sexism in the workplace, self-perpetuated problem due to little representation, sexism in STEM, little engagement with young girls when it comes to science, lack of roleplay with toys and activities relating to science at a young age too, and more. These points have often been highlighted as leading causes, yet boys don’t necessarily pursue the sciences because there are more relatable role models or representations in the industry.
Inspiring the Next Generation
Early exposure to roleplay with toys or activities aimed at tinkering, building, taking apart, etc, often leads to the desire to know more about it. This often feeds into boys’ inquisitive nature of wanting to know how things work or even the Tech industry developing VR technology. Many girls aren’t given that opportunity at such formative ages. Could more of that be targeted? Could a greater exposure to role-play during play time in tinkering, fixing, building, etc, make a difference?
While many leading research industries invest in STEM programmes and drive awareness campaigns to get more girls into science, raise awareness of the historical influence women have had in science, and provide opportunities for young women to engage in STEM, can it be too late by then?
ClassVR and Women in Science
ClassVR and Avantis World can be part of that journey for young ladies to discover more about science and technology. It can provide opportunities for an immersive learning experience in science, explore the tech behind it, as well as use our third-party apps such as Thinglink and CoSpaces to develop their own VR experiences.
ClassVR is a Virtual reality platform that can help women in science break barriers and inspire the next generation. With ClassVR, students can immerse themselves in virtual environments and experience science in a whole new way. This opens opportunities for learning and expose young women to experiences in science in a whole new way.
Women in STEM
The objective to increase awareness of women in science, the great research they have contributed to and pioneered, and to recognise their work and contribution could influence more young women to consider science as an option. Having more women in leading roles in scientific research can influence the very research pursued by the industries they work in, for example, the cosmetics industry. Women often offer a different perspective to a problem or inquiry and hence differ in the questions they ask. Without women in science, research may remain limited and so will our collective abilities to address challenges. The diversity in the industry can offer a diverse perspective, which can be reflected in innovation and progress in science.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science
The 11th February 2023 marks the celebration of Women in Science. To celebrate this, we have released two new scenes relating to the ground-breaking work Rosalind Franklin produced that led to the discovery of the ‘Structure of DNA’ and the ‘Life of Marie Curie’ and her Nobel Prize-winning work relating to radiation.
‘’Even today, in the 21st century, women and girls are being side-lined in science-related fields due to their gender. Women need to know that they have a place in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and that they have a right to share in scientific progress’’.