Why We Need More Women in Science

There is no doubt that women have made their mark in science. From Marie Curie to Rosalind Franklin – women have made outstanding contributions to innovation, research, and technology. Still, there is a significant gender bias that exists in the field, which affects research outcomes and discovery.

The questions exists: Why are there still so few women in science? How will this affect what we learn from research?

According to an article in National Geographic, women make up half the national workforce and earn more college and graduate degrees than men. Still, the gender gap in science exists – specifically in fields such as engineering.

This from National Geographic:

According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, women in fields commonly referred to as STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) made up 7 percent of that workforce in 1970, a figure that had jumped to 23 percent by 1990. But the rise essentially stopped there. Two decades later, in 2011, women made up 26 percent of the science workforce.

Read the full article here.

Women in STEM occupations (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) made up only 26 percent of the science workforce as of 2011. Credit: National Geographic/U.S. Census Bureau

Women in STEM occupations (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) made up only 26 percent of the science workforce as of 2011.
Credit: National Geographic/U.S. Census Bureau

Many cultural forces exist that stand in the way of women becoming involved in science. Girls are often steered toward careers outside the science field at an early age, which narrows her choices in life before finding out exactly how far she could have gone and what type of impact she could have made.

Due to the noticeable link between gender bias and research outcomes, specifically in the area of health care, movements and programs have grown to empower women in science and promote change.

The Gendered Innovations movement, led by Stanford Science Historian Londa Schiebinger, aims to gather natural scientists, engineers, and gender experts in order to harness creative power.

The National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program supports women in academic since and promotes institutional change.

This from National Geographic:

Analysts say that more women are needed in research to increase the range of inventions and breakthroughs that come from looking at problems differently than men typically do.

While men and women may be equal, they are undoubtedly different. In order to achieve the highest excellence in science, it’s important that women are just as equally represented as men. For these reasons, it is crucial to get more women into science.

ECS understands and encourages the active participation of women in science in order to produce a more effective and faster discovery process. One woman that has made an outstanding impact in science is ECS’s 2011-2012 president, Esther S. Takeuchi.

We encourage more women to join the Society and make a lasting and significant impact on the scientific community.


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