In December 2015, the United Nations established February 11 as International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This proclamation followed the UN’s 2013 General Assembly resolution that full and equal access to and participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for women and girls is essential for them to achieve gender equality and empowerment. The UN organizations of UNESCO and UN Women facilitate the annual assembly on February 11, when initiatives promoting the increased participation of women and girls in STEM are reviewed and discussed.
In the 1960s, the number of US women receiving STEM degrees was increasing. However, by the 1980s this trend plateaued, seemingly reflecting social barriers and gender biases. SD is dedicated to inspiring young women scientists, and is pleased that our efforts have been recognized by the College Board’s 2023 AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award. This award reflects the high enrollment of young women in Mr. Gustin’s class of AP Computer Science.
From architects to chemists, and ichthyologists to mathematicians, the San Domenico library has many biographies on women in STEM fields. We also have engaging fiction with burgeoning female scientists as protagonists. Fiction books are more relatable to many students, and also inspire and stimulate creative STEM thinking.
Lower School students will be charmed by the new picture book series, Izzy Gizmo, by Pip Jones. Izzy is “a girl who loved to invent, (and) carried her tool bag wherever she went.” In addition to the lilting, rhyming text, the detailed pictures by Sara Ogilvie will engage and invite close study. Middle School students will be inspired by The First Rule of Climate Club. In this book, author Carrie Firestone captures girl power energy in the club’s sustainable community projects, and their commitment to change when they witness stark social and racial inequities. In Donna Barba Higuera’s Newbery winning novel, The Last Cuentista, Upper School students will journey with scientists and their families to a new planet when the Earth is destroyed by a comet. Petra, the Latinx protagonist, is programmed to forget memories of Earth and become a botanist-geologist for the new colony. But the erasure of her memories does not go as planned.
Whether your student explores science through non-fiction or novels, both can plant seeds for the further embrace of science.