Last year, UNESCO declared 11 February as the International Day of Girls and Women in Science in order to recognise the critical role women and girls play in science and technology. CIS celebrated this day with activities that support and encourage girls’ and women’s participation in science, technology, engineering and math. Female science teachers shared their personal career experiences through short video interviews, secondary students and teachers tweeted with #Iamawomaninscience to raise awareness about inspiring female scientists. Female students also introduced their role models, women whom they look up to for their achievements as scientists.

Read testimonials of our secondary students who will grow up to be tomorrow’s aspirational scientists below, and watch the video interviews by our female science teachers, Ms Nur Karadayi, Ms Michelle Lee, Ms Piyanka Dilawari and Ms Nikki Rambin.

Michelle Lee, science teacher
I have always thought of myself as “just a science teacher”. It was only this year, when two parents explained to me how pleased their daughters were that all of their science teachers were female, that I considered the significance of being a “female” science teacher.

I have been lucky that I have not seen being female as a barrier during my education or my career and I hope to continue to encourage all of my students, regardless of gender. I do this by instilling in them my belief that the only barriers to achieving their potential are lack of determination and self-belief.

Raising awareness for the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science was a great opportunity to reinforce this and to encourage more girls to follow their passion in science. It was wonderful to see the support of the CIS student and staff community.

Ryleigh Van Neck, grade 11 student
Science has always been an area of interest for me. It comes as a surprise to people that I find the transcription of genes, and organic chemistry very interesting. The first influential woman in my life is also a woman in science, my mother. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree so from an early age, human anatomy and health science were common discussion topics, sparking my interest right from the start.

Role models such as my mother, Ms Lee my biology teacher, and Ms Dilawari my chemistry teacher, provide me with the confidence to pursue being a part of the field. I personally believe that I am very fortunate to have two female science teachers in my life as they play a crucial role in promoting female scientists. We need women to inspire women, always.

Sam MacMillan, grade 12 student
Regardless of occupation, area of study, or lifestyle, science is a steadfast aspect of our lives. Not everyone chooses to pursue a science in university or as a career, but many students take a science course in secondary school. This is the case for me - a second year DP student in standard level Biology. Even though I am not pursuing a natural science as a career, I chose to study one in the Diploma Programme. This was partly due to my personal interest in biology, but having female science teachers in middle and high school also inspired me to continue learning in my DP years. As a young girl, it was very important for me to see successful, intelligent and dedicated women working towards improving knowledge in their respective fields. These women include Mary Jackson, the first black female engineer for NASA, and my own aunt, Susan Reid, who was the first woman to chair a department of surgery at a Canadian medical school.

I am very grateful that I have never been told that I couldn’t work in science because I’m female, and I hope that the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science will continue to promote this attitude.

Aditi Melkote, grade 11
Celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science at school was special for me because it was encouraging to learn that this type of recognition for the women who make great contributions in sciences exists and to acknowledge their continuing efforts. It was great to see so many members of the CIS community, teachers and students across all grade levels stepping up by tweeting with the hashtag #ISupportWomenInScience.

As someone who intends to pursue a career in science, it’s really encouraging to have a supportive community at school to cheer me and other budding female scientists on!


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