The Trailblazers exhibition that took place at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle was mentioned in the highly revealing talk given by the learning officers of the Discovery and Great North Museums. It was an exhibition highlighting some of the achievements made by women in science over the past 250 years, in the face of highly male dominated fields, to encourage more women into science and engineering.
This made me wonder, why, in 2013 it is still extremely necessary to actively encourage women into science and technology. The challenges that would have faced women in science in the 1800s would have ranged from a lack of an education equal to men, society’s attitude to women in the workplace, to a lack of role models. These are arguably not a problem for women today, so what are the new challenges?
I came across a website by Susan Greenfield, a scientist who was the first female director of the Royal Institution.
She outlines several issues that prevent women from becoming involved in science today, such as the unpopularity of science as a school subject for girls, sexism and the glass ceiling for senior posts. This highlights the need for new attitudes and why initiatives such as Trailblazers are so important still.
Increasing numbers of women into science and engineering can only help to revitalise these fields, bringing in fresh perspectives and challenging outdated negative attitudes.