Established by the United Nations, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science aims to ensure women’s full and equal access to, and participation in, science-related career fields and study. Celebrated each February 11, it also recognizes the important role women play, and have played, in science and technology.
And it’s an important purpose. According to the U.N., only 30% of researchers and 35% of students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related fields are women.
Liam & Co. is passionate about enabling women and girls to be their very best. It’s why we celebrate Self Improvement Month every September. And it’s why we’re so happy to indulge in the season surrounding the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
We believe empowering girls to reach their full potential is everyone’s responsibility. Because when girls recognize their full potential, we all win. Need some examples of what we mean? Easy!
Greta Thurnberg, anyone?
Thurnberg triggered a landslide of child climate activists throughout the world. In fact, the reaction to Thurnberg has driven stronger climate change activity than anything this world has ever seen. She stood strong and steadfast in the face of adversity that included harsh criticism from world leaders and threats of boycott. She has impacted decision makers from Sweden to the United States with her heartfelt and fervid speeches.Yes, Greta Thurnberg: Time’s 2019 Person of the Year. She reached rock-star status as a 16-year-old environmental activist. The now 17-year-old began spending her school days outside of the Swedish parliament calling for stronger regulations to battle climate change. And the world noticed.
But it’s not just the 17-year-old, reserved and humble climate-change champion who is helping shape the world through her efforts in science and technology.
It was none other than Katherine Johnson, immortalized in the film “Hidden Figures,” whose calculations helped send the first American into space. The former NASA scientist has since been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal for her integral role in getting American astronauts into space.
Space travel has changed our world in too many ways to list. But, here are just a few examples: The camera phone was devised because of innovations born from space travel (can you imagine not having cameras on our phones now?). Life-saving CAT scans were developed because of the need for quality digital imaging in space. And even certain artificial limbs owe their existence to space travel. The list goes on, really.
So, is space travel that big of a deal, really? Yes! Yes, it is. And it wouldn’t have been so without the efforts of Katherine Johnson and other women who got us there. And speaking of women’s role in the cosmos . . .
In October 2019, two NASA astronauts, Jessica Meir and Christina Koch, became the first all-women crew to perform a spacewalk. They repaired a part of the space station—all in preparation for NASA’s goal of putting the first woman on the moon by 2024.
The all-woman crew inspired a nation of young girls who watched the spacewalk live on NASA’s website and YouTube channel. In fact, little wonder that due to this crew and other advances in space by women scientists, the number of female astronauts is increasing. Fifty percent of Koch and Meir’s 2013 class of astronaut candidates were women.
Koch and Meir continue a legacy that began with the likes of Johnson and her team that helped send the first astronauts to space.
We really wish we could list all of the inspiring and groundbreaking (or should we say glass-ceiling-breaking) women and their accomplishments in the fields of science and technology. That would be impossible, or, at least, a REALLY long blog post.
But we are happy to celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science to remember the contributions of women and to inspire young girls to live up to their full potential—to be whatever they want to be. Whether astronaut, climate activist, computer programmer, mathematician, physicist or engineer, it’s clear that women will continue breaking gender-based barriers and stereotypes in science and technology to lead, inspire and change the world.
Here’s our idea: Let’s make every day International Day of Women and Girls in Science.