11 February is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science

La giornata mira a promuovere l’uguaglianza di genere e a far sì che donne e ragazze ottengano parità di accesso e partecipazione nella scienza.

It could seem quite impossible, but the scientific vocation of women and girls keeps being opposed in the name of preconceptions on the female scarce predisposition to subjects like physics, maths and chemistry. To better understand the lack of consideration women face in the scientific world, consider that 97% of Nobel Prizes have been awarded to men.


Scienziate in erba
Two pupils during a class of chemistry


However, women are stronger than stereotypes, and it’s demonstrated by numerous examples of female scientists that successfully challenged a historically sexist environment. Among them, Marie Curie, Nobel Prize in Physics 1903 and in Chemistry 1911, and first female professor at the Sorbonne; Margherita Hack, leading astrophysicist in the Italian and international scientific community; Cecilia Payne, astrophysicist that discovered the composition of stars in terms of helium and hydrogen; and Samantha Cristoforetti, astronaut and first Italian woman to be part of a crew of the European Space Agency.


L'astrofisica Margherita Hack
Margherita Hack, extraordinary Italian astrophysics and scientist


In order to achieve gender equality and allow women and girls to have equal access to and participation in the scientific world, the United Nations declared 11 February as the International Day for Women and Girls in Science. Despite the efforts carried out by the international community to enhance women’s and girls’ participation in science, the competition with men is still uneven.


According to a study carried out in 14 countries, the odds girls have to earn a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree or a PHD in science are 18%, 8%, and 2% respectively, whilst for male students are 37%, 18%, and 6% respectively.


Studenti di chimica
According to a study, women are less likely to graduate in the scientific field than men


“The progression of knowledge is made possible by the work of the great geniuses who preceded us,” said Margherita Hack, regardless of their gender.

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