This blog was originally published in February of 2022: Today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science! But, before we raise our beakers up and give it up for all the inspiring women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths), it’s important to acknowledge that on average, only 30% of the world’s researchers are women.
Women working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) fields, in particular, are published less and often receive lower salaries than their male counterparts. Whilst university enrollments are increasing, according to UNESCO, "many opt out at the highest levels required for a research career". Though recent research shows a promising upward trend.
It's clear that we still have a long way to go in ensuring equity for all women and girls in these academic disciplines.
What can we do? Start by celebrating female scientists and the incredible work that they do! If you're in a STEAM field, encourage the next generation of scientists by sharing your work with them and helping to eliminate the barriers to entry.
First things first, why is the ‘A’ in STEAM so important?
The ‘A’ in STEAM stands for ‘ART’ and is intended to encourage creativity, curiosity and personal expression to learning. Art nicely compliments the other STEM subjects by creating an inclusive and well-rounded environment that sparks new ideas by teaching people that they can be both analytical and creative.
So let’s raise our beakers and give it up for International Day of Women and Girls in Science! In honour of February also being Black History Month, let’s look at some inspiring women of colour in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) whose outstanding contributions are helping to shape the world as we know it! 🔬🌿
Lola Young, Baroness Young of Hornsey
Baroness Young graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Cultural Studies. She then went on to work as a professional actress and speaker on children’s shows such as BBC’s Play School. In 1985, she became co-director and training and development manager at Haringey Arts Council before becoming a lecturer of media and cultural studies at the Polytechnic Institute of West London and later, at Middlesex University. She’s a published author, was the Project director of the Archives and Museum of Black Heritage, Commissioner in the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2001 New Year Honours for services to British Black History and much, much more.
Wangarĩ Muta Maathai
A Kenyan social, environmental and political activist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. She was the first woman in East and Central Africa to become a Doctor of Philosophy and gain her PhD. In 1977, Dr Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement (GBM), an environmental organisation that empowers communities, particularly women, to conserve the environment and improve livelihoods. To date, the GBM has planted over 51 million trees in Kenya!
Mapp is the Founder & CEO of Outdoor Afro, a national network based in the U.S.A. committed to celebrating and inspiring Black connections and leadership in nature through activities such as hiking, camping, biking, kayaking and more. To date, Outdoor Afro has helped to connect over 45,000 people with nature across 56 cities. Mapp has also been a part of informing the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative, proudly serves on The Wilderness Society board, and is the chair of the California State Park and Recreation Commission.
Professor Francisca Nneka Okeke
Professor Okeke is a Nigerian Professor of Physics at the University of Nigeria and the first female to head the university’s faculty of physical sciences. In 2012, Professor Okeke received the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Award for her significant contributions to the understanding of climate change. She’s advocated for the further inclusion of women in the university’s department, which led to the employment of three new female faculty members and continues to advocate for women and girls in science and technology.
Dr, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson
A marine biologist, policy expert and writer who co-founded the Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank for coastal cities. She also co-created and was the former co-host for the podcast ‘How to save a planet’ which focused on climate solutions. Dr Johnson also co-authored the ‘Blue New Deal’, a roadmap for including the ocean in climate policy. Dr Johnson earned a BA from Harvard University in environmental science and public policy, and a PhD from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in marine biology.
Do you or someone you know work in STEAM fields? We’d love to hear what inspired you to go down your particular career path by letting us know on Instagram or sending us an email at email@example.com 💚