Only 28% of researchers in the world are women. This devastating and discouraging data adds to the list of gender inequalities worldwide. One of the main reasons for this inequality undoubtedly derives from the education and values taught to children in both at school and at home.
It is astonishing that in countries leading in global research –supposedly those considered to be more developed, boasting superior educational standards— such gender inequality is sustained or exacerbated even further. The Netherlands, with a 24% of women from their total number of researchers, France with a 26% or Germany with a 28% are clear examples of this inequality (Unesco Institute for Statistics).
In the United States, the situation is not better either. Although gender parity is almost reached in Science and Engineering degrees, only a mere 29% of women attain job positions relating to these subjects. For instance, women account for just 35% of chemists, and even a lower 11% of physicists and astronomers (NSF, Science & Engineering Indicators 2016).
South Korea and Japan, with a 19% and a 15% respectively, are also good examples of inequality between women and men in research.
By taking initiative and making changes in childhood and education, we will be able to combat this inequality. And one of the best strategies is acknowledging and promoting the work of relevant women scientists.
Newton, Darwin and Einstein are “superscientists”. But so are Ada Lovelace, Rosalind Franklin, Jane Goodall and Marie Curie too. However, comparatively, they are almost never recognized as such.
Each of these women has stories equally as fascinating as the males in their field –and children love stories. Stories like how Mary Anning discovered her first complete dinosaur at the age of 12. Or how Katherine Johnson, an African American physicist, was able to solve trajectories to land on the moon despite being prevented from attending the meetings of her male colleagues at the NASA.
Some of these stories are collected in the book Women in Science. Also noteworthy in this book is illustrator Rachel Ignotofsky’s work, which highlights the achievements and contributions of these prominent figures. Women in Science is an extraordinary work that we highly recommend, due to its efforts to promote and recognize key women figures in our society. Ultimately, it serves as an engaging resource that can be utilized to work on understanding gender equality at schools.