Whilst considering this article, it dawned on me that there are so many different ways we can approach Science, and Science will affect everyone in a very different way. Science is a vast subject that permeates many relevant topics and is a vital area of knowledge that we must continue developing and understanding.
Having the desire to understand more about our brains, I recently began studying for my master's in applied neuroscience, allowing me, in turn, to know what we are doing with the technology in our school. What effect is it having on children and young people? How is it strengthening development or causing harm to those using it? Growing up, science was the last thing I thought I would ever do because science is wearing a white jacket in a lab… isn’t it? At school, we learn science in areas and topics and sometimes in silo from everything else. Having never thought of myself as a scientific person (even though I have taught both food science and computer science in my career as a teacher) I wondered what made me, and I am sure others, think this.
What is a modern scientist anyway?
What does it mean to be a Woman or a Girl in Science in 2023? As we forge the concepts and understanding of what science can be, it allows us to develop a deeper understanding of the topic itself. It allows us the opportunity to change what it means to be a scientist. It is not just physics, chemistry or biology. It doesn’t mean you can only go on to be a doctor, a research scientist or a teacher.
To help change this narrative, I wanted to celebrate all sectors of science for the leaps and bounds made. But there is one area in particular in which we have seen exponential growth in the last decade, making it even more impressive.
Artificial Intelligence or AI.
Now, I could go on to tell you all the wonderful reasons we should not be scared of ChatGPT. However, when I had this article shared with me, 30 Most Inspiring Women in AI, I realised that the important message to share with you is some of the common themes emerging from the scientific minds and the creators of AI. Some of the core traits these outstanding women in Science have in common are traits that will change and empower the world for good, forever.
The women featured are outstanding in their field; reading their bios is intimidating in parts and hugely aspirational. However, the beginning of their career path, I assume, would look considerably different to where they are now. With rapid change, they have had to pivot and be adaptable in sectors. They are not just data scientists. Their passion for science and technology has allowed them to be more than traditional scientists. An important fact to note is that when we talk about future pathways, we do not box something off, especially when we cannot confidently predict the future of scientific development. Anyone with the right passion for a subject will learn the skills required to deliver, we know that from the millions of entrepreneurs who left school without the grades, they were told they needed.
These women are digital transformation specialists and are mentors to those around them, encouraging a world to consider human-centred approaches, accessibility and, above all, ethical developments in the sustainable growth of the technology industry.
They empower women and communities to understand data and technology to enable them to grow and develop their communities, supporting growth and development across regions. These women are breaking down the barrier of data literacy, increasing our abilities to defend against Cyberattacks.
They work for Netflix, Google, and Luxury beauty brands. They are CEOs of their own companies. Not every scientist works in a lab with a white coat or in front of a class.
They are leaders, yet,
“Women account for only 22% of AI experts worldwide.” - World Economic Forum.
Why so few? Girls and women, people, would be more excited about going into science if they knew the skills and possibilities it truly entailed.
These women are critical thinkers, creative and driven. Key skills we want to empower all learners to have, life long skills.
Let us change the narrative, address the stereotype, and push the change.
Being a scientist is following your passion, no matter the form it takes. Being a scientist can change the world.
Encourage more people to innovate and change in support of a better tomorrow. They have inspired me to drive forwards, and I hope they inspire you and the young people at your school to think outside the lab coat.
Author : Phillipa Wraithmell: Experienced School Leader, Author, ADE, Digital Learning Specialist
Phillipa's Linkedin : https://www.linkedin.com/in/philippa-wraithmell-