Updated: Jul 31, 2020
The 11th of February is the day of Women and Girls in science.
The 8th of March is International Women's day.
February 11th, is intended to remind institutions that in these days of sustainability challenges it is important to have diversity in science.
Why is it important to have diversity in science?
Because this is the key to unlocking sustainable challenges.
How so, you may ask?
If I take only environmental sustainable challenges, diversity allows to tackle research in different ways, from different angles, which will solve environmental challenges faster and in a more comprehensive manner.
So February 11th, reminds me every time that even if the number is growing, women are still a minority in the science world.
I am a woman, I am a scientist, I obtained my PhD 15 years ago, and even today, at the tables where the decision makers sit, I often wonder, where are the women?*
According to the UNESCO, in 2019, women account for less than 30% of the world’s researchers. This number could be improved, don't you think?
March 8th, reminds us that women are still fighting for equal rights.
This day says again and again, that even if women represents 49% of the population (UN data of 2019), they are still considered as a minority.
So today, let's celebrate a woman, a scientist, a pioneer...
Let's celebrate the voice of the first scientist who made a real impact in helping general public understand sustainability challenges, Rachel Carson.
In the 1960s, she was the voice of sustainability.
An expert in environmental sciences, she was the first scientist who warned the politics and the general public, about the danger of pesticides for humans, plants, and animals.
She even became a central element of American politics for decades, as she wrote "Silent Springs", which brought unprecedented awareness within the general public but also the full opposition of chemical policies.
Thanks to her work, Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, certainly better known by its acronym DDT, an environmentally disastrous pesticide, was banned in the USA in 1972.
In 2001, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, made it illegal to be used (almost) everywhere else on the planet.
So Let's celebrate Rachel Carson, the first environmental scientist who raised public awareness.
*Read this article of the World Economic Forum talking about this issue