Women in science is a reality that is constantly being discussed, and therefore, historians and scientists have deeply searched into the scientific endeavors and accomplishments of women. Many influential female scientists have illuminated new branches of knowledge in the 19th century, such as Ada Lovelace, Marie Curie, and Maria Montessori. Of course, women’s contribution has never stopped. Tu Youyou and May-Britt Moser and many others have shared their accomplishments with the world during the 21st century.
Vanier College proudly would like to celebrate the presence of women in this field, and to emphasize gender equality that is achieved once women and men enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society. Therefore, from October 11th to October 13th,a project called ”women of science”, currently being prepared, will be thrown. In order to get more involved in details, Stephanie Felkai, a direct organizer of the event and a biology teacher at Vanier College, was interviewed to communicate more accurately the goals of the project.
Departing from her own experience, Ms. Felkai has developed some thoughts about inequality in the field of science, not necessarily inequality in terms of gender, but also in terms of social background, religion and origins. She supports her argument with a personal story about a professor she had in university when she was studying at McGill, who thought it is reasonable for someone in her situation not to get such a good grade on a specific test, since neither of her parents is a doctor nor a teacher. However, another observation she also carried out for a long time, is that, often, the scientist who are listened to, tend to often belong to non-religious background, and therefore, the scientific community suffers from the closeness to any kind of system of faith and worship.
Mrs. Felkai has also discussed some statistics obtained from Statistics Canada, where she threw a light on a brilliant research, which is ethics in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). She, then, pointed out an important fact that a lot of people ignore about PISA test, which evaluates readings in science and math skills by recounting, ” Some women are doing really well on the test, at the age of fifteen, only 23% of female scientists are taken in a STEM field in university, whereas 46% of males are going. Why do we have women equal to men in those particular scores, half of them are chosen?”
Mrs. Felkai concluded her speech by affirming, ”Science is just a tool, it doesn’t matter who’s using the it – a man, a female, a transgender what their religion is and where do they belong.” She also re-highlights the idea of not only emphasizing on the presence of women, but also opening up the domain for everybody, because this is what constitutes of the beauty of science, ”It’s a tool that we use creatively with our minds to figure out the next step and make new discoveries, it should be used by everybody, that’s it!” she says.
Written By: Zeina Maan