2018 Women in Engineering Empowerment Essay – Éloïse Nolet-Gravel

Do you know what is special about the February 11th? Most people, including me before I started doing researches on the subject, don’t really know what is happening on that day. Well, the February 11th is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. It was proclaimed in 2015 during the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (International Day of Women and Girls in Science, 2015). This initiative is a great step towards improving representation of women in STEM fields. This short essay will talk about this subject by pointing out the main problems and sharing ideas to evolve.

To start the conversation, it is good to point out that we don’t hear about this issue enough. How come not a single woman in my close relatives knew about the February 11th? Governments and media need to talk about the fact that women are so poorly represented in the STEM fields. They should make annual reports about the improvement or not of this issue. Another point that could be improve is to provide more scholarship exclusively to women. Except your scholarship, I have never had the opportunity to apply for a “women only” scholarship in my domain. Women should feel special and needed in STEM fields.

To continue with a more specific idea to improve representation of women in STEM fields, governments should organize a “Women in science” tour all around the country so that young girls can meet scientist females and learn more about the fields normally associated to men. Some initiatives similar to my idea have already been tried. For example, in honor of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the “Centre des Sciences” in Montreal organized last February a day called “Science au Féminin”, where girls under 18 years old had free entrance to all the expositions and could meet women from the STEM fields (Centre des sciences Montréal, 2018). I would want to take this one-day event and make it bigger. The “Women in Science” tour I am proposing should go in big cities, but also in regions to meet girls that don’t necessarily have the chance to go to metropoles. Show them that a career in STEM fields is something achievable and interesting. That would allow women working in the STEM fields to share their passion and maybe inspire young girls to follow their path.

This kind of initiative comes with, of course, a cost and needs funding to see the day. Money would be the main obstacle for the realization of a “Women in Science” tour. The idea would be to include governments and universities in the process and show them only good can come from these one-day expositions.

To summarize the subject, the participation of the governments and media is essential. They need to talk about the subject more and more. Secondly, creating an exposition “Women in Science” that would go all around the country to inspire young girls to pursue a career in STEM fields would be my proposed solution. With that being said, I am positive that the representation of women in STEM fields can only improve in the future