Skip links

Science requires only a bright and inquisitive mind, not a gender

“Science, as an objective fact, is genderless. Male or Female, there is one overarching ethos: to use our minds in pursuit of exploration, discovery and new knowledge. And to use that knowledge to improve the world we live in. The more young women are told this – and young men are shown this with increased female colleagues in universities and labs – the more our reality will reflect the genderless truth of science.”

CEO, Dr Sarah Kelly (PhD)

To mark International Day of Women & Girls in Science, our CEO, Dr. Sarah Kelly, shares her thoughts on how far science has come and how far there is to go when it comes to gender parity & visibility in the scientific fields:

👉🏽Science historically reflected society, not capability, which is why history seems to be filled with male scientific achievements. Even when women managed to wrangle their way into that field, it was in an unacknowledged capacity, and often – even if they contributed equally or discovered a great deal more insight – the men got the credit because the idea of a woman in science was just not culturally comprehensible. There are always, in every field, exceptions: extraordinary women who pushed through to the fore by relentless determination, unmistakeable genius, or even sometimes by having the luck to be ‘taken on’ by an open-minded and influential patron. But if even they are considered a niche corner of the history books, how many brilliant female minds were completely overlooked or underused?

My own Mother, who was at secondary school in the late sixties, was the first girl in her year to do physics, and the nuns actually went to my Grandmother to get her to stop Mum from taking physics and to take home economics instead. That was only one generation ago. She went on to do it for Leaving Cert – after participating in the Young Scientist of the Year – and then got a degree in science from UCD.

👉🏽Society has been changing and I have seen first hand in my own college experience, and as a lecturer, that the numbers are starting to move toward a more equal balance.

👉🏽 Science IS genderless – that is an objective fact. But because we are only beginning to evolve toward equity and visibility on a more noticeable scale, it is important that the idea of science as an uninteresting, inaccessible or undesirable field for women is snuffed out.

👉🏽This means magnifying the contributions of women, making space and conscious effort in creating a gender balance at first….and when this is common place, gender will not matter and such measures won’t need to be given such a push. Science will simply be science, attracting inquisitive minds and personalities compatible with the work.

“The push to highlight women in science is necessary to acknowledge history and the strides women have made to plant the seeds of change. Because we are only the second generation of women who have pushed through the space made by women like my Mother. It’s our job to make the space even wider for the next generation”