International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024

February 9, 2024 - Defence Stories

As you read this, somewhere in the world, a girl is looking out her window at the stars. Her possibilities are endless.

That’s why every year on February 11 we celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science, (You are now leaving the Government of Canada website) which was established in 2016 by the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the essential role women and girls play in science and technology. This day is an opportunity to promote full and equal access to, and participation in, science for women and girls.

According to the United Nations, “A significant gender gap has persisted throughout the years at all levels of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world. Even though women have made tremendous progress towards increasing their participation in higher education, they are still under-represented in these fields.”

Within the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), it’s imperative that women and gender-diverse individuals have full and equal access to and participation in STEM disciplines. After all, our military was one of the first to allow women to serve in all occupations, and we continue to set ambitious goals to increase representation across all trades and ranks. In today’s CAF, women carve out unique careers in aviation, aerospace, medicine, health care, computing, engineering… the list goes on.

“Women and girls are needed in the sciences,” says Dr Sarah Lockyer. “Our experiences bring a different perspective that fuels more scientific enquiry and discovery. Science is for everyone, and it is exciting to think of what future discoveries await the minds and curiosity of women and girls.”

Dr Lockyer, Casualty Identification Program Coordinator at the Directorate of History and Heritage, is a forensic anthropologist tasked with identifying the remains of Canadian soldiers from the First World War, the Second World War, and the Korean Conflict.

It’s important we also celebrate all the women and gender-diverse individuals within our public service who have made an impact in their fields as researchers, doctors, scientists, technicians, and engineers. Learn more about the recent work of women and gender-diverse scientists and researchers within DND’s science and technology organization, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC). Scientists and researchers at DRDC continually develop and deliver technical solutions and advice to the Defence Team, other federal departments, as well as the safety and security communities.

Also on the Defence Team are researchers and scientists within Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis (available only on the Intranet) (DGMPRA). DGMPRA’s vision is to be a world leader in the conduct and application of military personnel research and analysis, to inform policy and decision making and to maximize our operational and organizational effectiveness. What’s more, several members of the team have devoted their research to supporting the inclusion of women and gender-diverse individuals in all occupations across CAF – including those involving STEM.

When it comes to ensuring gender-diversity within the workplace and among our ranks, we all have a part to play. By recognizing and promoting the achievements of women and gender-diverse individuals in STEM disciplines, we can help ensure a brighter, more inclusive future for all.

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