Today I would like to share with you an idea for the International Women’s day on March 8 2013. If you work in an institution, university, or non-profit related to science, have you taken note of the number of women around you? In astronomy and planetary science, it is not too bad even if it is not perfect, but some “hard” science groups, like physics or computer science, clearly have a low proportion of women in their ranks. I will not elaborate on the reasons for such lack of representation; instead, I propose to focus on the bright side.
Yes, there are more and more women in science, some of them even reaching the highest level of responsibility in their field. One of the issues is that women are not as vocal as the men with a similar job. Is that a secondary effect due to years of being the underdog in a field, hence spending your energy fighting against stereotypes and nasty comments? Or it is simply because after getting the recognition of your peers, women enjoy their work and make the best of it? The main issue is that all kids need examples when they grow up, and highlighting woman scientists could help girls think that they can also achieve their dream and become scientists, engineers, astronauts or a successful business woman.
This long preamble brings me to my idea. On Friday March 8, we should make sure that the women in our institutions enjoy a coffee or a lunch. Let them talk and exchange their thoughts, and take pictures to show the world that there are women in science, and sharing their experience on Twitter and Google+ (hashtag #WomenOfScience). They are here, not a majority, but they are an important part of scientific work and discussion.