The world celebrates 'International Day of Women and Girls in Science' on 11 February, but Mentone Girls’ Grammar is leading the charge in STEM innovation on a daily basis as our students’ participation rates in VCE science reaches an all-time high.
At Mentone Girls’ Grammar, our girls develop an understanding of science from their time in our Early Learning Centre right through to Year 12 with almost 90 percent of the VCE cohort doing at least one Year 12 science subject in 2019.
Our focus is on going beyond the classroom and enable our girls to learn about science through practical methods. Through initiatives such as Science Week and competitions including Big Science, Titration, Science Talent Search, Google Science Fair, Engineers without Boarders Innovation Challenge in Year 9 and Solar Car competition, our girls can feel supported to thrive in a holistic environment that envisions a future in STEM for them.
Around the globe, women are disproportionally underrepresented in the STEM workforce. Research shows that in Australia, only 27 percent of the total STEM workforce is female. Despite a demand for STEM in society, inflexible workplace policies, culture and diversity barriers, gender bias and lack of knowledge of women in STEM are primary threats to females in the workforce.
Microsoft documented an American study, asking a group of children if they knew the names of famous inventors. They replied, “Einstein, Gate, Franklin, Edison and Jobs” as if it was second nature. When they were asked if they knew any female inventors, there was silence.
When an identical study was done at Mentone Girls' Grammar's Junior School in 2019, EVERY girl, in Prep and Year 1, drew a female scientist. A perfect example of when girls are taught from a young age that there are no barriers to their interests and skills, they will see the world and their own future, differently.
It is time we truly celebrate the success of women inventors, engineers, mathematicians, technology experts and any female who uses science as a foundation of their learning, because without them, there is a huge cavity in our society.
"Don't be afraid of hard work. Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Don't let others discourage you or tell you that you can't do it. In my day, I was told women didn't go into chemistry. I saw no reason why we couldn't." - Gertrude Elion (Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who developed medications to treat leukaemia, malaria, meningitis, and more).