From Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, to women like Sabrina González Pasterski, a physicist, an educator, and an innovator, history has repeatedly shown us that women from all over the world are capable of pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). There are so many inspiring women who continuously show their abilities but not a lot of people see the struggles they encounter by pursuing a career in STEM. For years, women have faced gender inequality in these type of careers which is why the United Nations chose to adopt February 11th as the day that empowers all women and encourages them to participate in science. International Day of Women and Girls in Science helps establish gender equality and it is a day that celebrates the great accomplishments that women have made.
A prime example of someone who did not let STEM gender gaps dictate what career path a woman should or should not take was Chien-Shiung Wu. Wu, an American-Chinese physicists, is widely known for her contribution in the Manhattan Project, which was led by the U.S and was the first to develop nuclear weapons during WWII. Early on, Wu was determined to pursue higher education and found an interest in mathematics before discovering a passion for physics. She was the first women to be presented with an honorary doctorate from Princeton University and during her lifetime she was also awarded with the Comstock Prize in Physics, the National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize in Physics, and much more. Due to gender based injustice, Wu was excluded from receiving a Nobel Prize but she understood why and decided to address it when she stated, “I wonder whether the tiny atoms and nuclei, or the mathematical symbols, or the DNA molecules have any preference for either masculine or feminine treatment.” No matter what, Wu continued to do what she loved and left a long lasting impact in the world.
This can also be seen through an American Mathematician named Katherine Johnson. Johnson worked for NASA and with her help, the idea of sending a spacecraft into orbit around the Earth was made possible. Not to mention, NASA was also able to send another astronaut and have it land on the moon using the precise calculations she was able to provide.
All in all, we are fortunate enough to have such women set an example for the younger generation of girls who are seeking a career in STEM. With determination, women are breaking STEM gender gaps by sharing their experiences and by providing guidance and encouragement through programs like GOALS, Girlstart, Girls Who Code and applications like Hopscotch by Samatha John which gives girls an opportunity to learn how to code. By celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science we are encouraging women from all over the world to do what they love no matter what.