Women in science

By May 22nd, 2018

By: Christie Evans

It is no secret that science is a male dominated field and there is a push in Australia to encourage more women to take a science tertiary study pathway. However, by the time a student reaches year 10 they already have a clear direction of study. I believe the emphasis should be in middle school between years 6 and 9 when students are beginning to establish the subjects they enjoy and are successful in. Generally these subjects become the basis for further education.

The CSIRO and the Marine National Facility Educator on Board program have given me the chance to meet some highly accomplished and very passionate female scientists. I have spent time learning about their field of study, listening to their achievements and their struggles. It is important to give Primary School aged students the opportunity to see the important work scientists do to contribute to understanding and solving world issues. It is not enough to teach the curriculum without giving them a real world application. It is this that will engage students and what will help students retain this knowledge. Children are inherently curious and as teachers we need to foster that sense of wonder for that is the foundation of scientific investigation.

I am very grateful to the female scientists on this voyage, Ruth Eriksen (CSIRO), Annalise Pearson (Royal Australian Navy) and Emily Jateff (Australian National Maritime Museum) who have shared their projects with me. I will share their stories with the students in my class in hope to inspire them, the girls in particular, to follow a career in science.