Article by Therese Justine Bruel/ Photos by Hannah Beltran
The sciences are hard mistresses to love; they’re demanding, stressful, confusing. They introduce you to jargon you’ve never heard of, to concepts that might be a bit too abstract to understand. Why are you here? Is it because your parents thrust you here, or is it because you genuinely love the sciences? Is it because this is your passion?
Whatever the specifics, here you are: a woman studying the sciences. Biology, chemistry, physics—or are you in the computer sciences? Engineering? Or are you in the soft sciences? Social sciences: history, sociology, anthropology?
The specifics don’t really change the overall image you portray. You are a woman in the sciences, and that can be a hard thing to be.
Oftentimes, you’ll be underestimated. Your male peers will be preferred simply because of their gender. They might say you aren’t suited for fieldwork because you are a dainty female, and that’s not right. Everyone forgets that beneath your beauty is a brain, willpower, and strength of character.
You will get asked: why are you here? Isn’t this a man’s field? Computer sciences, engineering, physics, chemistry—why aren’t you in tourism or HRM? Or if you’re really passionate about the sciences, why don’t you just stick with biology?
They gender the fields and attempt to put you down, but don’t let their words hurt you—you are so much more than their predispositions.
Panelists for the 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards—extremely smart and gifted women scientists!
You will be told to prioritize your family or your family-to-be. You will be told to let go of your career and your passion to take care of your children or your children-to-be. They will lock you out of the lab to keep you in a domestic sphere even if you are so much brighter than everyone else there. It’s not wrong to take time out of your life to dedicate to your family. You are a mother, a mother-to-be, a woman, and it’s in your nature to be so loving and caring. However, you shouldn’t forget that you are also a scientist. A bright mind. A beauty with a brain.
Dr. Reiko Kuroda, the FWIS Global Laureate for Asia/Pacific 2013, giving a talk on her research. You could be in her shoes!
You have so much more to contribute to your fields, so don’t let the naysayers keep you down. You have so many people fighting for your empowerment. They’re giving you a voice. There are initiatives that celebrate you, a woman in the sciences, and all of your work.
So keep at it, Miss, Missus, Doctor Scientist because, as the tagline goes: the world needs science and science needs women, because women in science have the power to change the world!