International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021

Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and, therefore, also half of its potential. Yet women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science.

At present, less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women. According to UNESCO data (2014 – 2016), only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education.

In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/212 declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

To help mark this event, and to celebrate the work of Women and Girls in Science we asked some of the University of Reading Academic community to share short videos discussing some of the amazing women who they consider to be “trailblazers” in their fields.

These videos can be used as inspirational pieces, showcasing female role models to young people but also as a springboard for further learning and enquiry into the chosen field of study. Can you/your students identify any other trailblazers in these fields? Or be inspired by the video to learn more about what these women bought to the world?

Gertrude Elion (1918 – 1999)

Dr Mark Dallas shares why he consider Gerrued Elion to be a trailblazer in the field of Pharmacology. This trailblazer became the 5th woman to win Nobel Prize and paved the way for the development of at least 7 new medicines.

Rosalind Franklin

Alice Nield, from the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences introduced her trailblazer – Rosalind Franklin. Despite not being widely known, it was Rosalind’s work which formed the basis of Watson and Crick’s “discovery” of DNA.

Eunice Foote

In this video Dr Freya Varden introduces her trailblazer in the field of Meteorology and Climate Science – Eunice Foote. She was the first scientist known to have experimented on the warming effect of sunlight on different gases, and went on to theorize that changing the proportion of carbon dioxide