Celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Hello Esteemed HR Professionals!

On Sunday, February 11th, we commemorated International Day of Women and Girls in Science. (I hear there was also a football game that day.) Let’s not only celebrate the trailblazing spirits of Marie Curie and Caroline Herschel but also look at how contemporary female champions are shaping the landscape of STEM and the workplace.

Women in Science and Engineering: Bridging Past and Present

In our journey to champion gender diversity in the workplace, it’s crucial to recognize the dynamic contributions of women in STEM today. The achievements of women in STEM are integral to the evolution of our workplaces. If you’d like to see a great list of women in science, both past and present, who have made great contributions to the world, see this list of 91 Famous Female Scientists. (They have a minor oversight in that list. They left out Hedy Lamarr, the actress who co-invented the technology that eventually gave us Bluetooth. I’m a fan of both her acting and her brain.)

But there’s still a lot of work to do to give more women the opportunity to shine in STEM.

Gender Equality in the Workplace: Beyond Talk, Into Action

That list of female scientists, from ThoughtCo., underscores that gender equality in STEM should not be just a narrative; it should be a dynamic force reshaping the narrative of innovation. It’s about ensuring that the workplace acknowledges, appreciates, and empowers the brilliance of women (and girls!) in STEM roles, echoing the sentiments of the pioneers we celebrate this Sunday. This is a call to action for HR professionals to not only talk about gender equality but to actively implement strategies that foster an inclusive workplace.

Advancing Women in Technology: Great Strides but More Work To Do

The science and tech world, as illuminated by the National Science Foundation’s latest insights in their report on Diversity and STEM (which you can find here), is seeing more women contributing to transformative technologies and research. But the bar for improvement was set pretty low. How low? In 1970, women made up only 8% of STEM workers! How much improvement? As of 2021, women made up 35%! Much, much better.

However, according to the NSF report, women earned HALF of the engineering and science bachelor’s degrees. 50% of the degrees but only 35% of the workforce.

Gender Diversity in the Workplace: Amplifying Voices

Gender diversity, and diversity in general, is a catalyst for innovation. It’s not merely about representation; it’s about amplifying diverse voices that bring unique perspectives to the table. As HR professionals, fostering gender diversity means cultivating an environment where every individual, irrespective of gender, feels valued and heard.

Pay Inequity in the Workplace: The Road Ahead

According to the NSF report, those same women making up that 35% of the STEM workforce are consistently making less money than their male counterparts. That’s pretty damning.

Addressing pay inequity is a shared goal outlined in the report. As HR professionals, let’s take cues from the insights provided by the NSF and actively work towards closing the wage gap, ensuring that our workplaces reflect fairness and equality.

Closing Thoughts: Embracing Diversity, Inspiring Futures

Remember to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Let’s not only draw inspiration from the past but also of those working in the present and those who will be lighting the way in the future. The torchbearers of today illuminate the path forward, reminding us that the pursuit of diversity and equality is not just a celebration but an ongoing commitment to building workplaces that inspire and innovate.

Here’s to the women and girls in science! May their stories resonate and empower us to shape workplaces where brilliance knows no boundaries.



Diversity and STEM: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities 2023. National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, National Science Foundation. https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf23315/report

Lewis, J. J. (2019, December). Get to Know These 91 Famous Female Scientists. ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/famous-women-scientists-3528329  


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