Today, the world celebrates the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which aims to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. As part of this effort, Gender STI has launched its own #WomenInScience campaign. We talked to researchers and experts, both men and women, about why they got involved in science, what they think about current statistics on women researchers and what they think needs to be done to encourage more women and girls to pursue scientific careers.
Having more women in science will not only create a diverse environment, they will also create a vibrant scientific community. Sarina Gursch, a researcher at the Graz University of Technology, reminds us of the strength of community in science.
What is your job position and what science field do you work in? What does your job entail?
I am researcher at the Institute of Software Technology at the Graz University of Technology. As part of a motivated and dynamic team, I work on the development of teaching and learning apps, such as Catrobat, Pocket Code, Create@School, Embroidery Designer and Code’n’Stitch. My focus is on Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) subjects, and involves trying to increase interest in technical subjects at an early age.
Having a background in technical mathematics myself, I am very aware of the difficulties people face in this area. Proficiency in STEAM subjects provides crucial skills today and will provide even more in the future. Contributing to bridging this skill gap, in all gender groups alike, motivates me.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in science, and specifically in your scientific field?
Mathematics has always been one of my favorite subjects. Throughout my entire school career, I have always had a great interest in technical subjects. I pursued this interest by studying technical mathematics, and it has proven to be the right decision for me.
According to the United Nations, currently less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women. What do you think about that?
The current rate clearly shows that there is still potential for more women to pursue their vocation in this field. It also shows the importance of the work we are doing.
What would you tell young girls and women who are interested in pursuing a career in science?
Go for it! I am so glad to have chosen this path and can only advise everyone to choose this career. If you are interested in the field of technology, you will never be bored. The possibilities in the field of science are abundant, especially for women.
What message would you send to the public on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science?
Being part of an open-source project has shown me that you can create much more together as a community. It's not about comparisons or competition—we are much stronger when we work together.