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We can all be Science Grrls


happy-birthdayGetting young women into STEM subjects the creative way.

As Science Grrl celebrates its first birthday WVoN takes a look at this exciting collective of women scientists who are putting the extraordinary and the wonderful back in to STEM careers.

Science Grrl was created as a response to an EU “teaser” video for its campaign titled ‘Science: It’s a girl’s thing’.

The Science Grrls – based in London, UK – were so angered by the video, which is available to view on its website here for explanatory purposes, that they decided to launch a counter initiative to show women and girls the: ‘real face of female science’.

As identified by Science Grrl the EU campaign video was discredited by the fact that ‘no real science took place’.

In fact, in this author’s view, the video was particularly patronising and discouraging.

Its depiction of young women strutting about removing sunglasses, albeit cheerily, while a male scientist looked on was particularly dispiriting and said nothing of what women can bring to science or gain from a career in this field.

Science Grrl were therefore desperate to emphasise that: ‘Science is fascinating, captivating and full of wonder’.

Out of a desire to showcase science and female scientists at their best, Science Grrl launched an initial offering of a calendar illustrating: “real female scientists doing real, beautiful science”.

The calendar was a great success and spawned the broader network that Science Grrl has become over the past year, determined to encourage young women to embark on careers in Science, Technology, and Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.

As outlined in its strategy for 2013-2014 Science Grrl’s vision is: ‘A world where access to a fulfilling STEM career is decoupled from gender’.

Hoping to achieve this vision through its aim to: ‘promote role models, access to career guidance and work experience and to support female scientists at all stages of their careers’.

Encouraging collaboration with other groups, individuals and organisations seeking to improve female representation in STEM careers and being committed to inclusivity in their work and partnership with others is a sign that Science Grrl is dedicated to achieving its goals.

The detailed strategy and plans for the coming years infer that Science Grrl is a force to be reckoned with, yet despite all this furious activity the network is still fun and approachable.

Organising for two eight year-old science lovers, Aimee and Lara, to tour labs and meet female scientists is evidence of an approach that fosters excitement and wonder.

And it worked.

As Aimee wrote on Science Grrl’s blog: “Science Grrl encouraged me to want to be a scientist even more. That experiment worked!!”

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