Today marks the first-ever International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day to celebrate the achievements made by females in all areas of science, technology and math.
The United Nations previously announced the resolution to establish Feb. 11 as the annual day to commemorate women in STEM back in December, finally paying credit where credit is due.
Throughout history, women have failed to be as recognized as their male counterparts — who continue to dominate the fields — for their breakthroughs.
Take the example of Emmy Noether, the woman Albert Einstein called the "most significant" mathematician of the time. She was discriminated against because of her gender. Or Jocelyn Bell Nurnell, who discovered the first pulsar, but the Noble prize was awarded only to her male colleagues in 1974. There's Caroline Herschel, who was the first woman to discover a comet, Alice Catherine Evans, who discovered unpasteurized milk could make us sick, Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, and Lise Meitner, who was the first physics professor in Germany who spilt the atom along with her male colleague. The list goes on and on.
— The White House OSTP (@whitehouseostp) February 11, 2016
While women in STEM of the past and present have made significant accomplishments, according to a report from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), only 28 percent of researchers worldwide are women. While women are underrepresented in these fields (only 30 percent of women make up the tech industry), they are also underpaid compared with men who hold the same jobs. The goal of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science is to "eliminate gender inequality in science, employment, opportunities and education," which is part of the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
"The International Day of Women and Girls in Science will directly influence the perception of women in science for sustainable development and elevate the contributions of women in science, past, present and future that equitably reflects the aspirations and ambitions of all global citizens," HRH Prince Adel El-Hashemite said in a statement on Dec. 22, 2015.
The Internet is embracing the day with the trending Twitter hashtag #WomeinSTEM, with accounts paying homage to the women making a difference in these fields.
Meet the internet security team that’s keeping users safe: https://t.co/kSqhaFto5J #WomeninSTEM pic.twitter.com/KFZ9q5H3Pk — Life at Google (@lifeatgoogle) February 11, 2016
— Johnson Space Center (@NASA_Johnson) February 11, 2016
Happy #WomenInSTEM Day! Grateful for brilliant tech genius Felicity Smoak@ARROWwriters @mguggenheim @MericlesHappen pic.twitter.com/fAn2KFFJFT — Overwatch (@Olicityx) February 11, 2016
Not only is today a day to celebrate women who are often overshadowed by their male colleagues in science, tech and math, but it is also a day to encourage young girls to explore these fields.
Photo: goddard studio 13 | Flickr