When it comes to the scientific, construction, engineering and astro world many people will classify this as a male dominated place to be in. However, not many people know or are aware that women are actually dominating this field of work and exploring the unknown.
The history of women in space is existent, and is not dying out anytime soon. The world we live in today is seeing NASA investing in sending more women up to space. Recently it was announced that four out of eight new NASA candidates were women - the first time ever there has been an equal balance of men and women on a program. You could say that this new development is one big leap for women.
So, how does news like this impact the youngsters or females of today? It has become apparent that there are a very low number of women working in engineering and science. However, the women that do currently dominate this space are successfully influencing others to join the force field and rightly so.
Heidi Hammel a Senior Research Scientist with the Space Science Institute in Colorado explained well in a Big Think video as shown below what it is like for women in science and that more women should go for it.
Hammel is specialised in studies with the outer planets and has a Ph.D. in Physics and Astronomy. In her video on “Women in Science” she stated that she did not intend to be involved in this career path however it was her elective astronomy course at University that looked like fun that made her choose this field of interest and so she took the course and it landed her to where she is now, dominating space.
It is interesting to hear that her first thought on entering a course in astronomy and science and in a male surrounding was “I don’t think that I belong in this class” yet her teacher encouraged her and said “no no this is for you”. From here, Hammel struggled with her studies but did not drop her course, she powered on and there was no going back.
I completely agree that you need to power through, and when you are determined to achieve that goal you will. My first step into science was through my Telegraph Engineering job, working in a scientific lab which led to working within different fields of engineering and construction. Along the way I even project managed large projects and worked in the nuclear chemical field. I have seen and experienced what it is like to be in a male dominated work environment and you can survive!
When you look back in history there are many women to feel inspired by. Have you ever heard of Valentina Tereshkova? Well, she is a cosmonaut and it basically means she made history by being the first woman to fly into space back in 1963. This astro woman (pictured above) orbited the earth 48 times as a pilot on the Vostok6 spacecraft which is an outstanding achievement. In more recent times, many other cosmonauts’ has followed her lead – it may well have been a few years on from Tereshkova making history but the likes of Sally Ride have impacted people and encouraged females to join the space revolution. Sally Ride was not only the first American female astronaut to fly into space but was a physicist too.
Science and physics are actually interesting fields to work in and explore, some people think it is boring but the amount of discoveries and innovations that take place from a bit of chemistry and engineering is beyond amazing. This is why more females are starting to take an interest in this subject field at education. I do personally feel there is certainly a need to encourage the enthusiasm to study and work in this field more and it helps that the women leaders at the top of the science tree like Barbara Osband are being brutally honest and encouraging more women.
Barbara is a woman dominating science and a president and CEO of Cambridge Biomedical who recently stated that although there were so many women entering the sciences at a high level in terms of education still when she looked around the CEO round table, she could actually count the number of women around the room and her words it was pitiful. Sometimes the truth hurts that impacts the youngsters and makes them want to dominate this area in the future.
If you read the news around the world there are many people developing in the space of science and engineering. Although Kelvin Doe is not female his story is inspiring – a 15 year old prodigy and a self-taught engineer who now is the youngest invitee into the MIT program due to him combining metals and soda to create battery power for his family’s home. Youngsters in poorly developed countries that are being noticed for their skillful capabilities are truly inspiring, showing us that you can practically make yourself known on your own with little money or resources.
The fact is women are unfortunately traditionally known to be set aside when it comes to jobs in male dominated fields but this is changing more each day and it is accepted now that women can dominate. The way women approach setbacks brings together movements, women around the world dominate together. Organisations are grouping together and building new resources to help women in this field. For example, WISE promotes female talent in science and engineering, their mission is to increase the gender balance and push up the level of female workers. With over 30 years’ experience inspiring females they boost the talent pool in the UK.
Women are paving the way to the future, and now is the time to follow the women in leadership. Some of these women that have truly had an impact on me are Marissa Mayer, who at 38 is now the CEO and President of Yahoo. Marissa is a mother in a high powered job, a daughter of an engineer and with a husband in engineering. And then there is Jennifer Chayes who is a former professor of mathematics at UCLA who moved to Microsoft and now has more than 20 patents under her belt. Take inspiration today and continue to lead the way!
Jenny Beswick is a graduate of Engineering, who has worked in various fields of scientific and engineering work internationally. She has a passion for technology, innovation and exploring the unknown and encourages more women to get involved in this field of work.