Sharing the story of Women of Science
Science and STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) are crying out for more women. Many people are aware of this fact, but it can be difficult to know what to do to help the cause. There are many resources encouraging women and girls to pursue science as a career by detailing the skills required, the qualifications needed and what day-to-day life might entail. What is lacking, perhaps, is a more human approach where women can be open and tell their stories as a real person, giving details about the ups and downs of life as a scientist, making the job attainable for all.
Women of Science is a project aiming to do just that; it gives women a platform to be open and share their story and show that they are just regular people who do science and happen to be female. Too often scientists are viewed as being ‘geniuses’ who eat sleep and breathe science, making the job seem off-putting for prospective students. Women of Science aims to change that. The project was created by Rhys, a materials science PhD student, science communicator and keen photographer. She allows women to share their stories through an intimate and open interview along with a photoshoot to capture the emotions and humanity behind the scientists. The stories are then shared through the blog for all to read and be inspired by, along with the visual portraits which bring the person behind the story ‘come to life’.
Through the stories many important topics are discussed openly; the ups of life in science can be exhilarating and inspiring when new data is coming in and everything is fascinating but there are many issues surrounding life in research which, in particular, causes attrition of women in STEM subjects. Problems surrounding gender inequality and the cost that science can take on mental health and wellbeing are openly discussed, as well as ways to overcome issues and find an area of STEM in which you can thrive. Because women CAN do science, but that doesn’t have to mean wearing a white coat forever if that’s not for you.
I was fortunate enough to be invited by Rhys to take part in this inspiring project and my own story has gone live on the website today. If you get the chance please do check out the site! I have loved reading the stories of my fellow Women of Science, being inspired by their passion and motivated by how others have overcome their own struggles. It can be wonderful to share in the successes of others and creates a sense of solidarity in overcoming adversity. I know Rhys would be keen to hear from any Women in STEM subjects who would like to be featured on her growing blog so do get in touch with her through the site because I would love to hear your stories too!
What do you think of the Women of Science project? Do you think it helps to humanise the people behind the lab coats?
*All photos taken by Rhys Archer for my Women of Science story*