The International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11 allows us to honor women’s significant achievements in science and place a much-needed focus on girls entering Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers. As the fastest-growing segment of jobs with employers finding it hard to find available talent, STEM needs women. Have some fun today by learning about women charting their course as techie trailblazers and by supporting young women to pursue their passions in STEM.
History of International Day of Women and Girls in Science
Over the past two decades, women have been more likely to receive an undergraduate degree than their male counterparts. Despite this overall accomplishment, women earn degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) at half the rate of men. This variance caught the attention of the United Nations and, in 2015, they proclaimed February 11 of each year to be observed as International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
Women’s ability to enter STEM fields offers them a wider variety of employment opportunities with higher pay than what is found in many other fields. The demand for STEM skills around the world continues to grow and it is up to us to ensure women and girls do not miss out.
This day allows us to recognize the role women and girls already play in science, promote the idea of STEM careers to future generations of women, and educate men on their role in encouraging and mentoring women and girls in schools and the workplace to pursue their technical and scientific passions.
Now is the time to bring women into their full potential within these fields and to see how their contributions can impact the world.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science timeline
Moving the needle
Women in the US (finally) make up a full 1% of those graduating with degrees in engineering
First Female Nobel Prize Recipient
Physicist Marie Curie becomes the first women to win Nobel Prize
Higher Education for Women
Elizabeth Bragg was the first woman to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering; graduating from the University of California at Berkeley
- 2700 BC
First Woman Scientist
Merit-Ptah had the words "chief physician" inscribed on her tomb
International Day of Women and Girls in Science FAQs
Why do girls not choose STEM careers?
According to a study conducted by Microsoft, most girls (72%) believe it is important to have a career that directly helps the world; only 37% believe STEM careers would allow them to do that.
What is the fastest-growing tech job?
Software and web developers make up the largest category of tech jobs in America with over 300,000 jobs added each year.
How much do STEM careers pay?
Jobs in technology pay, on average, almost twice as much as the national average salary.
HOW TO OBSERVE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN SCIENCE
Learn about women’s contributions to Science
It is fascinating to learn about the many female trailblazers who have contributed to our society through science. Search for online resources, books, and movies that tell their stories. Share what you learn and honor these women through social media.
Encourage a girl to seek her academic passion
Do you have a daughter or know a young girl interested in science? Encourage her to stick with it! Too often, girls veer from their passions and are not supported to take the road less traveled. If you are not familiar with the latest STEM career options, find a friend who could explain them to her and provide mentorship in her journey.
Connect with Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code is an organization determined to close the gender gap in technology by 2027 through community girls’ clubs, summer camps, college programs, fundraisers, and corporate sponsorships and advocacy. You can get involved individually or encourage your company to get involved corporately.
5 Women In Science You Should Know
From Hidden Figures fame, Johnson was a mathematician calculating orbital mechanics for NASA and was critical to the first crewed spaceflight.
Considered to be the first industrial/organizational psychologist and “America’s first lady of engineering”, Gilbreth was also one of the first American female engineers to earn a Ph.D. and the first female engineering professor at Purdue University.
Ruth Benerito was an American chemist and inventor who held 55 patents; her most notable invention was wash and wear cotton fabrics.
During her career with General Electric in the 1920s, Clarke became the first American woman professionally employed as an electrical engineer as well as the first female electrical engineering professor in the country.
Carson’s book, Silent Spring, brought attention to the use of pesticides in America which led to changes in our pesticide policies and, through enhanced conservationism, ultimately led to the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency.
WHY INTERNATIONAL DAY OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN SCIENCE IS IMPORTANT
It’s a time to teach young boys
Not only do girls need to become comfortable being in STEM programs, but boys also need to be comfortable having them there. Y4X is a global initiative to promote gender equality in science by helping young boys and men respect and recognize their female counterparts as well as to seek women in science as their mentors and role models.
It’s a time to acknowledge contributions
Today is a time to honor, appreciate, and share in the successes of women who have gone before us making significant contributions worldwide.
It’s a time to open opportunities
Now is the time to help women at any age and stage in their careers grow within the STEM community. With the rate of job growth in technology, we can’t afford to lose any talent – finding and keeping women who enjoy and are skilled in technology is important to us all.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science dates