In the last 5 years there has been an outcry for the empowerment, equality and support of women in STEM-related fields. Last year the Neurological Foundation introduced a new event series called Women in Neuroscience on International Women’s Day to celebrate female researchers and scientists the Foundation has funded. In 2018 the Foundation looked at the demographics of the researchers and scientists that have been supported over the last 9 years (2009-2018) and was amazed to see that over 60% of the people we fund are women. Not only does this change the narrative of the gender stereotypical idea of a researcher being a man in a white lab coat but it is an empowering visual for women of all ages who have ever had an interest in science or research.
Since last year the Women in Neuroscience event series has evolved. It will no longer be held on International Women’s Day on the 8 March, but instead a month earlier on International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February. The event name has also changed to Women in Science and will showcase panels of inspiring female scientists, professors and researchers at different stages in their careers and who all have been funded by the Neurological Foundation. In February they’ll be discussing their work, their decision to become a researcher, scientists or professor, and how they can inspire other females to do the same.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science was created as a UNESCO and UN-Women initiative to support international goals to bridge the gender gap in science-related fields. Since 2005 the global community has made a lot of efforts in engaging with women and girls in science and yet, “women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science”. There is a staggering global statistic that says, “less than 30 per cent of scientific and technological researchers worldwide are women” . New Zealand was one of the first countries to allow women to vote in 1893 and now has an opportunity to continue to support the growth and education of women in science.
This year’s global theme for International Day of Women and Girls in Science and International Women’s Day is gender equality. As an organisation that funds scientific research (specifically into neurological treatments and therapies), we are proud to be able to support and fund female researchers whenever possible. This year join us at one of our Women in Science events throughout New Zealand and meet our fierce female researchers, professors and scientists who are helping shape the future of neurological advancements, treatments and therapies.