There have been some amazing women in science Marie Curie, Rosamund Franklin, Ada Lovelace who have changed the world in large ways, won Nobel prizes and are rightly honoured for what they did.
But women don’t have to win Nobel prizes to make the world a better place.
At the moment it is mostly men working in STEM subjects earning all that money, making all those decisions that affect our lives in so many tiny but important ways.
Caroline Criado Perez has recently published a book (Invisible Women) which shows this is so many ways.
1. Cars have to be tested for safety using the famous crash test dummy.
But the dummy is a male body. So cars are tested to be safe for men. Women tend to be shorter than men so we move the seat forward (so we can reach the pedals) raise the seat (so we can see over the steering wheel).
This means women are not sitting in the place that was tested for safety. So although men are more likely to crash, women involved in collisions are nearly 50% more likely to be seriously hurt and 17% more likely to die.
2. Virtually everyone has a smartphone nowadays but most people working in tech industries are men, so phone size is designed for men.
The average smartphone is 14cm which is too big for most women’s hands, and it doesn’t often fit in our pockets (that’s if we even have pockets in our clothes)
3. Will you get the correct dosage of medicine when you are ill?
If you are male the answer is likely to be yes. If you are female the answer is less certain as drug dosages are not calculated in accordance with women’s smaller size and distinctive metabolism.
Subjects in drug trials are disproportionately male, in part because the menstrual cycle of hormones in females makes it harder to work out a drugs effectiveness.
Thus data is often not available on a drug’s effect on half the population of the world.
So not everyone can win a Nobel prize but every woman that goes into Science (or Technology, Engineering or Maths) can make small changes that can be just as important.
For more information read Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez ISBN: 9781784741723
Or go to:
- Science Grrl https://sciencegrrl.co.uk/
- Women in science and Engineering https://www.wisecampaign.org.uk/
We would love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so feel free to leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get some advice on broadening your curriculum, encouraging girls into stem.