On July 9, Natalia Hawk at Mamamia wrote an article highlighting the 4 newest female additions to NASA’s astronaut team. She notes that these women weren’t chosen due to a diversity quota, but simply because they were the best candidates for the job. She asserts that we should be talking about these women, and that ladies of this caliber should be as prominent in our popular culture as, say, Kim Kardashian.
I couldn’t agree more. The media’s coverage of celebrity antics (both male and female) is absurd, especially when there are real-life, intelligent role models to report on. More so, when a scientific breakthrough does manage to sneak into the media, the work is usually spearheaded by a man. A classic example of this is the story of Rosalind Franklin, who’s groundbreaking x-ray crystallography techniques played a crucial role in deciphering the structure of DNA; two gentlemen, Watson and Crick, are usually the only researchers credited with this discovery.
So here is my attempt to start talking about smart women. I have compiled a few websites dedicated to highlighting the important role and ground breaking work of women in STEM fields.
Here is a great recent effort by the Department of Energy to highlight the women in their labs: Women @ Energy
The L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Program provides yearly awards to women who are making doing performing important research in science. Each year 15 young researchers (doctoral/post-doctoral) in the life sciences are awarded fellowships, and 5 eminent women in science are also recognized. Their profiles are on the website.
Finally, the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy has a page of resources available about administration’s push to engage girls in STEM fields.
Let’s talk about smart women!