To mark the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we present <insert drum roll here> this guest blog from Alice Gray, science blogger, creator of Gray Matter and the driving force behind some limited edition goodies which are being sold in aid of ScienceGrrl:

Alice and Ellie’s limited-edition fundraising science dolls and postcards, available to order now from etsy

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” – Dr. Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go!

From as young as three years old, we have already started to make decisions about what we are and are not capable of based on our gender. From this point, we start to see girls and boys shut off potential career opportunities (consciously and subconsciously) because on stereotypes.

February 11 marks the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day to enable discussion about equality and encourage girls to interact with STEM. As I saw the day approaching on my calendar, it got me thinking about how my career as a woman in science has developed.

As an identical twin, it typically has been assumed that my sister and I would follow similar paths in life. In school we both loved science, maths, and had a passion for art, and therefore people would assume that our careers would be as identical as we were. However our parents encouraged us to do what we loved, individually. And, because of that, my twin and I ended up on what could be considered opposing sides of the career spectrum; as I pursued a career in science, and she developed into a talented artist.

As I thought about this, I began to realise that this was a testament to our parents. We have been able to reach our dream careers because they encouraged us, and enabled us to believe that any career we aspired to could be achievable, if we put out minds to it. Something that is not the case with many children, as many girls don’t even consider science as an option for them.

To mark the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science my sister and I decided to partner up, combining our passions, to help girls reach their full potential and celebrate women in STEM. We created a series of three postcards of amazing women in science, as well as gender-neutral STEM toys, to sell in aid of ScienceGrrl.

We want people to send these postcards around the world, and encourage their friends and family to find out about what these outstanding women have done for science, whilst simultaneously raising funds for projects that encourage girls to interact with STEM.

Ellie and I wanted to start a project that would enable girls to see what they are capable of, and receive the opportunity that our parent’s gave us – allowing them to see new careers that they can aspire to, and achieve their full potential.
We are big believers in equality, and investing in projects that address the lack of diversity in industry. By empowering young girls and making them feel confident in their abilities, you allow them to become unstoppable in achieving their goals.

Dr Heather Williams
Heather helped establish ScienceGrrl in June 2012 and is ScienceGrrl's Director. Heather is a Senior Medical Physicist for Nuclear Medicine at Central Manchester University Hospitals and honorary Lecturer in the Centre for Imaging Sciences at Manchester University. She makes sure pictures of patients are top quality so the doctors can trust what they see, and tries out new and better ways of imaging the body’s functions. When she’s not working, Heather enjoys running, cycling and spending time with her sons.
Dr Heather Williams
Dr Heather Williams
Dr Heather Williams

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