Girls, young women still face barriers in science

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There have been some changes in the sciences and technology sector when it comes to job opportunities for women, but there are still some hurdles to get past.

It’s the observation from the team at Science World, as it gears up for another Girls and STEAM event, which is set to take place on Saturday, Nov. 6.

The goal is to connect girls between the ages of 11 and 13 to potential mentors who work in these industries.

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Design, and Mathematics. Typically, life sciences has seen a relatively better representation, and the mentor attendees who work in STEAM industries will aim to inspire.

WATCH: on @CityNewsVAN: girls & young women are still facing barriers when trying to find their footing — or even a job in the science and tech world. How an upcoming online event by @scienceworldca next month hopes to help keep breaking down barriers. pic.twitter.com/S69HHCdLzM

— Ria Renouf (@riarenouf) October 14, 2021

“If you, like me, took a degree in physics, the numbers are pretty dire. It’s like 20 to 30 per cent women, which is really low, and it’s stayed really low for a long time,” said Sandy Eix, the Director of STEAM Learning at Science World.

“Engineering has made a comeback, made some improvements, anyways, in terms of women pursuing engineering as a career, which is great. So, I think good things are happening, but we still have a long way to go to make sure that there’s really good gender diversity,” she explained.

As for whether there has been an increase in interest in the sciences because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eix says it’s definitely something to watch out for.

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“I haven’t seen any studies that reflect that [interest], however, I do hear a lot of buzz from young women about the number of female STEM models who are also leaders in the pandemic. So, we see people like Dr. Theresa Tam, Dr. Bonnie Henry, we see them in the news being both in a leadership role and in a science role,” she noted.

Dr. Bonnie Henry was last year’s big guest at the event, and this year, another emerging scientist aims to take the lead and inspire: Samantha Yammine, known as ‘Science Sam’ online.

 

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A post shared by Samantha Yammine, PhD (@science.sam)

“Some of [Sam’s] skills, like talking, and writing, and explaining are skills that might normally be associated with arts-type studies, and some of her skills are associated with research science. And that nice combination really shows the nice skills sets that come together and creates a really starringly famous career.”

While the event is called Girls and STEAM, Science World notes participants and mentors who identify as women, girls, trans, genderqueer, non-binary, two-spirit, and gender questioning are more than welcome to attend.

 

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A post shared by Samantha Yammine, PhD (@science.sam)

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