It’s Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World
by Rachel Ignotofsky and it’s so gorgeous and well-done, I was smiling wide while reading the whole thing.
I LOVE THIS BOOK. I realized that the moment I laid my eyes on it because the illustrations are EVERYWHERE and adorable. I love it so much. I found this book by listening to a podcast called “Talk Nerdy” where Rachel Ignotofsky was on talking about the books and other things. She’s also created books with Women in Sports and The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth. This book is written with kids in mind, because the writing is elegantly simple and accessible. I’m going to gift this to every kid I know, I would recommend it to everyone else as well.
Why I think encouraging girls to study science is very needed
I’m going to study science at university, but as I was growing up I’ve seen nearly just male scientists and had only male science teachers (until now). Not only that – growing up I had no female friends interested in science! What you choose as a career isn’t just based on your own interests and views, but things like who you can imagine yourself as in the future, in ways it’s difficult to control or pinpoint. I grew up in a place where people were very encouraged to follow what they were good at and make a living out of it, while where I’ve spent the last five years is more focused at getting the right degree or experience to work in one of the existing jobs. I’ve seen those different mindsets, along with economical situations of course, really make an impact on people’s choices.
I’ve never tried to shape my life after role models, but then I’ve also never had anyone I wanted to be like. This book gives so many examples of women who followed their passions and made their own path. And that’s really needed, because you want science (especially maths and physics, which is still stigma around) to be introduced as viable alternatives.
Here’s the thing that sucks: people don’t understand at even smaller levels what makes it harder to be a girl in science. It’s 2019 and I’ve heard a lot of jokes from my own physics class, every one of them individually harmless, but together they further a division. The fact is that I’m not trying to prove myself every time I step into a classroom, but that’s a choice I had to make to be able to be curious and ask questions, and something I see others are struggling with. I think it’s important to not divide scientists into “scientists and female scientists”, but mostly at a higher level, because as long as it’s not as many male and female choosing the fields, it is needed to encourage girls in different ways to cancel out those different social views that has gotten us here. One of the guys in my class was disagreeing with one of many invitations to visit a university being only for women, and I get the immediate reaction. But it shows how hard it is to make someone understand how it can affect a person growing up seeing girls staying dumb on purpose because doing well on math tests isn’t cool or likeable, or encouraged by parents really, and how it’s so hard to find other girls with shared interests.
But also look at the norwegian scientist featured! I was really excited, even though it’s one of the few I already know more about in this book. To round this off- I’ve seen more initiatives to get girls/women into science fields, some of them natural, others very cringe-inducing, and really think and hope it’s getting better than it was just ten to five years ago.
I really adore how this book shows scientists in different styles, ages and personalities.