As the resident scientist (fun fact, my Bachelor’s is in Chemistry) in my workplace, I was recently asked to write something for Women's Science Day.
As I reflected, I realized how big of a piece science still plays in my life, albeit indirectly, and how it reflects in my day-to-day job and my relationship with SQream (my place of employment).
One of these assumptions, by the way, is the assumption that girls aren’t as good at STEM or suitable for that world as boys. Thinking further on this, I found another way this line of thought connects to feminism, which is very close to my heart.
What are my core assumptions that have evolved due to decades and centuries in which it was illegal for women to engage in science? Obviously, they will think they can't, we didn't let them do it so there's not a vast enough history and well-known names in the field.
Everyone knows about Einstein or Newton, we all know that the test of whether a computer is human-like is called the Turing Test (after Alan Turing who is considered the father of modern computers), but how many of us know who Hedy Lamarr or Ada Lovelace are?
Our entire lives today are based on computing and programming and broadcasting far and wide, and they were pioneers in their fields. in the case of Lamarr, while also being a successful actress.
This can also be seen in the world of high-tech, we see fewer women in key positions because we have our assumption that they are less suitable, although there are dozens of studies in the field that show the integration of women into teams and management raises productivity.
There's also another reason why we think women are less suited to an intense life of management or science. The frequent expectation is that women would give up their career aspirations away in favor of raising children. To this day there is not necessarily such an expectation from fathers.
The thought of one day raising a family is connected to one of my biggest anxieties: Climate anxiety. My scientific side really likes to delve into the subject, read the UN reports in the field, be interested in who and what is causing the very harsh changes that await us not so far down the line.
I can't see myself condemning a new person to a world that's going to fall apart, and my only way to prevent that is to spread awareness of research on the subject and actively promote alternatives.
Recycling another bottle doesn't matter when there are dozens of big companies that produce a lot more plastic than I do. Working for a company that promotes an alternative causing less of an energy overload might do something.
The desire to do what I can to leave behind the world better and more livable than the one I was given is one of the reasons I work where I work. Even if I no longer think it will be by developing an important cure or chemical substance like I once thought, here I have the place to minimize the damage a little bit.
We all live in this world, with all its consequences and assumptions and expectations, and we have nowhere else to go. We don't have enough time to let another false premise stop us from doing what we can to leave behind a better world, both for ourselves and for what comes after us, no matter how much we were not given this opportunity in the past.
So, happy Women's Science Day to us all, may it be a day of the revolution, a day of light and hope for a better future, a day when we will not let anything stop us from moving forward.