International Day of Women and Girls in Science

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

February 11 is International Day of Women and Girls in Science. We explore some of the reasons why there are fewer girls and women interested in working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and what's happening to encourage equality in these fields.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.


In 2016, the UN declared 11 February as International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The main reason for this declaration was to encourage more girls and women to take up jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (also known as the STEM subjects). Figures show that although there is no significant difference in ability between boys and girls in maths and science, less than 35 per cent of graduates in STEM subjects worldwide are women and there are even fewer in engineering and information technology.

Why is it important to involve more women and girls in science?

When one group of people dominates a field of study, whether it's an age group, a cultural group or a gender, there is danger of creating a narrow view of the subject. Including more women in male-dominated areas will bring in fresh points of view, new talent and creativity. It can also help increase women's social and financial position in some countries. 

Why aren't more girls taking up careers in STEM subjects? 

This is a difficult and complicated question. A number of answers have been suggested.  

Early years
Some suggest that girls have less experience of activities and toys that encourage an interest in science. Others suggest that girls are more critical of their abilities and tend to underestimate themselves, so they might not think they're 'good enough' to study a STEM subject at university. 

Making choices at school
Studies found that girls' test results in science subjects were as good as boys'. But since they often also do well in other subjects, girls have more choices when deciding what to study. This has an obvious influence on their future choice in jobs.

Entering the world of work 
Another factor could be the fact that the thought of being one of a small minority on a university course, or in a job, may discourage girls from preparing for a career in research or engineering. There is a common fear that if you are in a minority, you will suffer discrimination and you will need to work much harder in order to succeed. 

What can be done to encourage girls to take up science as a career?  

There are a number of things that can be done to encourage girls to consider a career in science. 

Early years
Parents and schools can introduce all children – boys and girls – to activities and toys that encourage them to build and make things and get them interested in exploring the world around them and how it works. 

Making choices at school 
A number of organisations send women scientists to talk to girls at school about their work. Some schools encourage older girls who are studying STEM subjects to talk to younger students in their schools about their passion for their subject. University and research facilities open their laboratories to schools so that the students can experience hands-on scientific research.   

Entering the world of work 
More and more workplaces and science departments are using mentor programmes to help and support women when they are working in a minority. Women in senior roles are often very keen to offer support to younger women entering their field.  

Role models
Probably one of the most important things is to make sure that girls see plenty of examples of successful women scientists in the news and in the media. 

If you want to find out more about women in science and this special day, look for #WomenInScience on social media.



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Submitted by jrozaso on Sat, 04/02/2023 - 03:16


As the article says, it's very important to create successful women forums to talk about the success stories in the science field, this could encourage to more women to take the path of a STEM carreer.

Submitted by jyoti Chaudhary on Sun, 01/05/2022 - 13:02


Can you think of any other possible solutions? Do you know of any famous women scientists from your country?
I'm from India 60% of girls and women select science stem and she doing work hard for achieving our ambition. and here without hard-working nothing progress in this stream. women always achieve whatever they want.

Submitted by amina_cu on Mon, 18/04/2022 - 21:49


Amina Çuliqi ( Future STEM subject university student )
Thanks for the great blog and for drawing attention to this problematic of girls' education career worldwide. I think that the problem's roots go deep down at they key factor that is cultural development of each country. In some countries it is taught since childhood that girls only get to tend dolls, inspiring them to become doctors, nurses, teachers or just housewives; meanwhile boys are given toys such as cars and robots which naturally increase their interest and knowledge in technology and engeeniring, leading them to become who they are today. I think the old generation should be educated with the idea that is okay for young females to pursue the path of technology or else the next generation will be deprived of so many bright and innovative female minds. It's such a shame that women aren't pushed to be interested in the future technology, especially considering the fact that we live in a very developed world, full of choices and opportunities. I'm very thankful that I'm part of the women who have chosen to contribute in the field of science and engineering.

Submitted by Alexsandra Mar… on Mon, 14/02/2022 - 23:11


I live in Brazil and here we have some women in science so it could be bigger but unfortunately there are many cultural hurdling to win. I believe that it could start do be better if our government invest in education, technology and teachers carees. So for the girls that choice study science we need to keep better oportunities to in the future we have more balance between mens and womens in science.

Submitted by Susan Celis on Sat, 12/02/2022 - 05:01


Lately, in my countrie, the goberment had promoted the development of the woman in field of steam by generanting job offers with good remuneration for womans. Furthermore, in the goberment job announcements they require dues of gender.

Submitted by PARIMALA MADIAZHAKAN on Mon, 15/02/2021 - 14:19

In my opinion , possible solution for encourage women participate in field of STEM is government must give first priority to women. Government need to create job opportunity in field of science to encourage them to involve more efficiently. For example, government sectors distribute more employment opportunities to women compare to men. Further more, after women finished studies in fields of STEM government should give them first priority to offer a good job with good salary. Government should offer a better salary for women scientist to encourage the participates of women in this fields. This kind of solution may attract women's attention to involve in fields of science. I am from Malaysia. In my country there are many women scientist who involve in science area. Each moment they make our country feel proud by their achievements in this field. One of top scientist in my country is Mahaletchumy Arujanan. She is listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the field of biotechnology by the 7th edition of The Scientific American Worldwide View: A Global Biotechnology Perspective Journal.
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Submitted by danisep on Fri, 05/02/2021 - 16:41

I think that it is a cultural matter, how the script said, girls play with dolls and boys with cars and legos. since the beginning, we established clear roles in children. that's why some people think that men can drive better or do mechanical jobs because they have a different physical composition. I don't think in that way and it is clear that there are certain benefices if there are women in STEM subjects.
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Sat, 30/05/2020 - 22:49

Another possible solution is by providing them with incentives and supports in the long run. Yes. I know.

Submitted by cittàutopica on Sat, 28/03/2020 - 14:53

I think the basic thing that can be done to encourage girls to consider a career in STEM is educating their parents. Indeed the family is the first social and cultural context and the parents tend often to pass down the old-fashioned role models. Concerning my country, I want remember at least two women scientists in two different domains: Maria Montessori (Educational Sciences) and Rita Levi Montalcini (Nobel Medicine Prize).

Submitted by parisaach on Sun, 22/09/2019 - 12:45

In my country although there are limitation for women to progress in their job, and universities provide more capacity for boys than girls, there are lots of girls who like to study in STEM. Actually in my country clever students just want to study engineering or medicine, no matter they are girl or boy. One of the most famous women who studied mathematics in my country is Maryam MirzaKhani, She was the first woman who won the Fields medal which we know Nobel prize in mathematics. I think the biggest barrier for women to be successful in their job or study is housework . Many people believe that it is women responsibility to cook and do housework. Though there are many men here who do housework and cooking,still most of them even don't know how to use an oven. Families trying to learn girls to cook, and they don't expect boys to cook or do housework. At school they teach girls how to cook and sew , and learn boys doing technical affairs. They usually understimate girls, some of them still make fun of how women drive. All of these affect girls self confidence.We really should change this perespective. Families and school should change their learning system.