It’s the first annual United Nations International Women and Girls in Science Day and there’s plenty of aspiring female scientists in our town.
Two such aspirants are 15-year-olds Georgie Taylor and Caitlyn Hyden from Blackheath and Thornburgh College.
The day is about recognising the gap in participation in sciences between men and women and removing some of the stigma surrounding being a female scientist.
“It’s the recognition, I’ve heard a lot about women going into science is a big thing because it’s a male dominant industry so seeing other girls or women exploring that field is exciting because it’s a turning point,” Miss Taylor says.
“One of the stigma is that you have to be all nerdy and introverted to be a scientist, you have to be the ‘typical nerd’ but now you don’t have to be you can be whatever personality or type of person you want to be to do that career.”
Miss Hyden agrees, saying although she used to be one of those self-proclaimed “typical nerds” at the beginning of high school, that isn’t how scientists, women and men, should be stereotyped.
“The majority of people (in science now) aren’t nerds, they can be country people, they can be musical, they don’t have to spend every hour of the day in a library,” she says.
The two girls are aiming high with Miss Taylor wanting to get into agricultural research and Miss Hyden looking at veterinary science.
“We’re able to make a difference and set an example for other females,” Miss Hyden says.
“I really want to try hard and actually achieve something, I don’t want to just be another name I want to make something of my life,” Miss Taylor says.
Senior Physics teacher Pollie Rayson says the world is finally acknowledging that girls haven’t had the same chance at a career in science.
“I don’t expect it to ever be a 50/50 split because I don’t believe that percentage of girls are interested in that career but nowadays it’s acceptable for them to want a career in that field and to expect if they are good they can get to the top,” Ms Rayson says.
She says the industry has changed completely since her education.
“The change is absolutely massive, people now accept, especially in Australia, that we have women who are world leaders in their field,” she says.
“That gets shown to students and they think, ‘oh that person who is crash hot in this field is a woman’.”
The two year 11 girls are avid chemistry fanatics, loving working with different molecules and chemicals.
“I absolutely love chemistry and I’ve loved it since grade eight,” Miss Hyden says.
“It just connects with me, the periodic table and valence electrons and all that, I just find that much easier than writing an English essay.”
We could have a small piece of the future of women in science in our own backyard.