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Women in Science: Their Contribution and Empowerment

By FathimaFebruary 13, 2024
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Science Women and Girls We are Proud of

Every year on February 11th, the world celebrates the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGIS). This special day is not just a fancy title; it's a day to recognize and appreciate the amazing contributions of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It's also a time to acknowledge the obstacles they encounter and commit to closing the gender gap in these fields.

As we observe IDWGIS, we're rewriting a story where stereotypes no longer limit brilliant minds, and gender doesn't restrict curiosity. In this world, groundbreaking discoveries emerge from diverse perspectives. We visualize a future where science isn't labeled as "for boys," and women and girls play a crucial role in shaping this inclusive and innovative world. Let's celebrate the progress we have made and continue working towards a future where everyone, regardless of gender, can thrive in the exciting world of science.

History of International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Back in 2011, the UN Commission on the Status of Women noticed a big problem: not enough women were getting into science, even though they had a lot to offer. This got people talking, and in 2013, the UN General Assembly agreed on a plan to make sure women and girls had the same chances in science as everyone else. It took a couple of years, but in 2015, they officially celebrated the first International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11th, focusing on the theme "Innovation: The Missing Link for Women in Science."

International Day of Women and Girls in Science Themes: Celebrating Advancements, Addressing Challenges

Every year, IDWGIS chooses a new theme that shows how women are making progress in science. In the past, we talked about things like "Science, Technology, and Innovation for Gender Equality in Sustainable Development" in 2018 and "Investment for Tomorrow's Scientists" in 2023. This time, our focus is on "Women Leadership in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals." We want to highlight the important role that women scientists play in creating a better future.

The Contribution of Women to Science

Throughout history, brilliant ideas from the minds of women and girls have shaped the way scientists think across various fields. Their research, inventions, innovations, and discoveries have enriched our lives and paved the way for a promising future.

Despite their significant contributions, there aren't as many women in scientific fields as there are men. Women have overcome obstacles at different times to pursue their passion for science, proving their potential to thrive when provided with the right environment.

Unfortunately, many groundbreaking contributions by women in science have been overlooked. One example is Rosalind Franklin, a chemist whose work was crucial in discovering the structure of DNA. Despite her vital role, recognition only came posthumously.

Other unsung heroines include African-American mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson at NASA. They played crucial roles in early space missions, inspiring the book and film, "Hidden Figures," which brought their accomplishments into the spotlight.

From Madame Curie, the only woman to receive Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry within just 8 years, to Shakuntala Devi, known as the Human Computer of India for her incredible mathematical abilities. Let us talk about women in science and technology.

According to UNESCO, 30% of researchers worldwide are women. However, this percentage highlights a disparity compared to men in the same field. Recognizing this, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated to acknowledge and encourage women's contributions to science and bridge the gender gap in research.

List of Women in Science and Technology

1. Janaki Ammal

Without her, sugar might have been sweeter the way it is today. She was a cytogeneticist and botanist by profession who broke the stereotypical rules imposed by society and did her best in researching thousands of plant species. She was the one to find the reason behind making sugar sweeter. She is credited with that innovation and was awarded the Padma Shree in 1977.

She was rebellious about the Silent Valley hydroelectric project in Kerala. She also did extensive studies on the chromosomes of thousands of floral species and made a remarkable contribution to the field of botany.

2. Anna Mani

She was born in 1918. Back then, women were not allowed to study science or break the so-called societal rules. She went further defying all these rules and began her research in meteorology. She also worked under the genius of Prof CV Raman and made a significant contribution to the field of meteorology.

Her research on solar radiation, wind energy, and ozone brought her global acclamation. She went on to become the Deputy Director of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

3. Tessy Thomas

Born in 1963, she broke the standard societal rules and became one of the leading scientists to head an Indian missile project. Imagine how she managed to become a brilliant contributor in a male-dominated scientific field of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO).

She was the first Indian scientist to head such an important project that escalated the level of military power we have now. She is a homemaker who went to become the Project Director for the development of Agni IV and V missiles. This is a solid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 5,500 km.

4. Kalpana Chawla

Who does not know her name? She was the first Indian-origin woman aeronautical engineer hailing from Haryana, India. She was the chosen engineer of NASA to go to the International Space Station. She is the first Indian and the second Indian to go to space after Rakesh Sharma.

Kalpana Chawla in the International Space Station

Also Read: Know About Some Remarkable Things Women Created

Due to her contribution, she was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honour, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and the NASA Space Flight Medal. Unfortunately, she died while returning to Columbia Space Shuttle in the STS-107 Mission with all 6 other crew members.

You will be surprised to know that she was an avid Bharatnatyam dancer, a professional scuba diver, and a karate champion.

5. Shakuntala Devi

As mentioned earlier, she is known as the Human Computer of India. Her remarkable power of doing complex mathematical operations within a few seconds amazed the entire world. She once calculated the 23rd root of a number with 201 digits in it.

She did it mentally without using any instrument or even a pen and did it 12 seconds faster than UNIVAC, the fastest computer in 1977. You will be surprised to know that Shakuntala Devi did not have any formal education. She demonstrated her mathematical capabilities when she was 6.

6. Marie Curie

Marie Curie, a pioneer in the field of radioactivity, remains an icon for women in science. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and remains the only woman to win Nobel Prizes in two different scientific fields – physics and chemistry. Her discoveries laid the foundation for advancements in medical treatments and paved the way for future generations of female scientists.

Role of Women in Science and Technology

All these names are proof that women have played a significant role in the development of science and technology. These names are of Indian origin only. Imagine the length of this list when the international names of women scientists and inventors are included.

The increased participation of women in science and technology will escalate the talent pool and will deliver excellent results in the future. It will also empower women and encourage them to choose their respective fields of science. It will also pave the way to understanding the importance and role of women in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM) will give birth to social role models and will encourage the future generation to pursue the same.

Challenges Faced by Women in Science

While women have made significant contributions to science, they often face unique challenges. Gender bias, unequal opportunities, and a lack of representation in leadership roles are persistent issues. Balancing family responsibilities and career aspirations adds an additional layer of complexity.

To address these challenges, it is crucial to promote inclusivity, challenge stereotypes, and provide equal opportunities for women in scientific fields. Initiatives that support work-life balance and mentorship programs can contribute to creating a more supportive environment.

Modern-Day Heroes: Women Shaping Science Today

Despite challenges, women today are making significant strides in various scientific disciplines. Dr. Jane Goodall, renowned for her groundbreaking research on primates, has not only advanced our understanding of animal behavior but also become a prominent environmental activist.

In the field of astrophysics, Dr. Katie Bouman played a key role in capturing the first image of a black hole. Her work exemplifies the power of collaboration and determination in overcoming gender barriers.

Empowering Women in Science

Numerous initiatives are underway globally to empower women in science. Mentorship programs, scholarships, and networking opportunities provide crucial support. Encouraging girls to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education from an early age is essential in building a diverse and inclusive scientific community.

Moreover, fostering a culture of inclusivity within scientific institutions and industries is imperative. Recognizing and celebrating the achievements of women in science, promoting diversity in research teams, and addressing gender biases contribute to creating a more equitable environment.

The Future: Nurturing the Next Generation

Empowering women in science is not just about addressing current disparities but also ensuring a brighter future. Encouraging young girls to explore their interest in science, providing access to educational resources, and dismantling gender stereotypes will pave the way for a more inclusive and diverse scientific community.

In the digital age, social media plays a pivotal role in raising awareness. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science witnesses a surge in online campaigns, where people from around the world share stories, quotes, and images of female scientists who have inspired them. It's a virtual celebration that transcends geographical boundaries, connecting people through a shared passion for science.


Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11th) is a crucial step. But the fight for equality goes beyond one day. By acknowledging the contributions of women in science, supporting their continued advancement, and dismantling the barriers they face, we can build a future where science thrives on the talents and perspectives of all.

Let's rewrite the narrative. Let's celebrate the groundbreaking achievements of women in science, empower the next generation, and ensure that the future of science reflects the full diversity of human potential.

FAQs on Women in Science: Their Contribution and Empowerment

1. When is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science celebrated?

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated on February 11th each year.

2. What is the Full form of IDWGIS?

The full form of IDWGIS is “International Day of Women and Girls in Science”

3. When was the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGIS) first celebrated?

International Day of Women and Girls in Science was first celebrated in 2015.

4. Who organizes the IDWGIS?

International Day of Women and Girls in Science is co-organized by UNESCO and UN-Women.

5. What is the International Day of Women & Girls in Science?

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGIS), also known as International Women's Day in Science or International Women and Girls in Science Day, is celebrated annually on February 11th. It recognizes the critical role women and girls play in science and technology and aims to promote their full and equal access and participation in these fields.

6. Why is International Day of Women and Girls in Science Important?

Despite significant progress, women and girls remain underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This day highlights the need to:

  • Increase awareness of the achievements and contributions of women and girls in science.

  • Advocate for equal access to education and opportunities in STEM fields for all.

  • Challenge gender stereotypes that discourage girls from pursuing science careers.

  • Inspire the next generation of female scientists and innovators.

7. What is the theme for International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024?

The International Day of Women and Girls in science 2024 theme is "Women and Girls in Science Leadership: A New Era for Sustainability". This theme emphasizes the critical role of women in leading scientific solutions to global challenges like climate change and sustainable development.

8. How can I get involved International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024?

There are many ways to get involved and celebrate the IDWGIS:

  • Attend events organized by local science museums, schools, or universities.

  • Share stories of inspiring women and girls in science on social media using the hashtags #WomenInScience #IDWGIS #February11.

  • Support organizations that promote STEM education for girls.

  • Mentor or role model for young girls interested in science.