How can we inspire the next generation of female science leaders?

Sunday 8th March sees us marking International Women’s Day and, with fascinating female-led research gracing this website’s pages over recent months, it is easy to see there is much to celebrate:

Dr Charlotte Kirchhelle, based at the University of Oxford, shared her research into the role of cell geometry in shaping plants’ organs and taught us how understanding fundamental cellular mechanisms could lead to new ways of manipulating and improving crops around the world.

Biogerontologist Dr Jennifer Tullet, based at the University of Kent, shared her studies of the lifespan and ageing process of nematode worms, revealing that many of her findings can be applied to mammals.

Dr Rebecca Bell, of Imperial College London, taught us that the tectonic plates that make up the Earth’s crust are constantly shifting and shared her research into how this movement can cause cataclysmic earthquakes and tsunamis as well as less obvious effects.

Prof Jenny Pringle at Deakin University, Australia, and her collaborators at storEnergy explained how they are developing the next generation of cleaner and safer batteries for a world that demands renewable energy.

As the range of articles on this website testifies, the world around us and the world that we could one day live in is being explored and shaped by some very inspiring women. Once we have celebrated this great work, we should take Sunday’s global appreciation of women as a reminder to look ahead and think about how we can inspire the next generation of female science leaders.

One organisation that is looking to the future is Girl Up. Founded by the UN in 2010, Girl Up is a movement dedicated to empowering girls through leadership programmes around the world. With the mantra, ‘when girls rise, we all rise’, Girl Up seeks to develop girls’ confidence and to encourage long-term aspirations.

The STEM branch of the Girl Up website acknowledges that there are still many barriers facing girls around the globe today but determines that STEM skills can be used to promote gender equality and change the world. Girl Up calls this ‘STEM for Social Good’.

Visit the website for more information, resources and even links to international leadership camps. There is much to explore and much to celebrate.

Happy International Women’s Day, everyone, and here’s to the next generation of female scientists. We look forward to reading their research articles in years to come!