This is a guest blog from Flora Vincent, who co-founded WAX Science
WAX Science is a French association born in March 2013, co-founded by Aude Bernheim and myself, Flora Vincent. It all started in November 2012, when our team won the video contest of the European Gender Summit entitled “Science It’s your thing”, releasing this doodle video:
WAX Science’s two main aims
Since then, WAX Science has built itself around two main missions: promoting science towards the youth and promoting gender diversity in science. We wanted something fun, off beat, to shake things up and be innovative.
From going into high schools to talk about science, we quickly realized all the stereotypes the field suffered from: education, careers, job opportunities… So our first action was to create wax-science.org, a online colorful collaborative platform. You can find interviews, articles about arts and science, videos about stereotypes, beautiful pictures, but also a list of all the associations we’ve been collaborating with until now. And most of all, anyone can post an article and volunteers from the association handle the rest.
One of our key values is really to work with a highly diverse team: scientists, designers, journalists, social scientists, engineers coming from secondary education, academia or companies. And it works!
The second point is to try and get out of our ecosystem of gender in science to investigate other ones like open science communities, professional equality, tech innovation etc… This has led to numerous initiatives, like the “1000 Ambassadors” (recruiting adults to raise their awareness about stereotypes in science and make them spread the word), a gender study in a synthetic biology competition (iGEM), interactive Arts and Science Events, the future development of an application to map gender ratio in scientific conferences…
Recently the French Government has launched a contest for the International Women’s Day, targeting the 16-25 years old. The goal was to create a video, a poster or a text to expose our vision about gender equality. Thanks to the volunteers in the association, we managed to release one of each!
We were short listed for the posters and the video but unfortunately didn’t win. However, the poster with the couch is on display in the French Ministry For Women’s Rights! Again, when designing this campaign we wanted to deliver a message that would not be moralizing or aggressive but intriguing and original… here are two of the posters:
What’s next for WAX?
The next step for us is definitely to spread the 1000 Ambassadors as much as possible and start evaluating our impact.
We’re having an eye on spreading WAX in Europe, but we don’t really know what shape it’s going to take. We have to develop and finalize an App and we’ve recently celebrated the opening of a Fab Lab in Paris and we really want to build something with them!
Flora Vincent @vincentflora