This Saturday 11 February marks International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGIS). Started in 2015 by the United Nations, it’s a time to celebrate the role of women and girls* in science with the goal of inspiring and engaging others. But the day is also about recognising the hardships women face, and the continued urgency of the fight for gender equality in the scientific environment.

Though women have been key figures in every part of scientific progress, men’s accomplishments still dominate. Men still hold more science jobs. Men tend to make more money. Being a woman in the science sector is often to be outnumbered and overlooked.

This pattern doesn’t start in the workplace. According to a recent survey commissioned by Stemettes, which we supported, 1 in 3 young people (aged 14 - 19) across the UK say that they haven’t or don’t remember being taught about a woman scientist in the past two years.

In honour of IDWGIS, we’re sharing just a few of the ways you can get involved on 11 February and beyond – from events and campaigns, to our top picks of essential reads and podcasts. Together, we can advocate for change, for progress and set the stage for a future where science is more relevant, representative and connected to society.

Take part in events and campaigns

Connect, Listen, Celebrate: Bridging the Gap

To raise awareness about the underrepresentation of women in STEM** in the UK curriculum and to mark Stemettes’ 10th anniversary, the social enterprise has organised for young girls, women and non-binary people to walk over Waterloo Bridge – also known as the Ladies’ Bridge, due to the undocumented contribution of female construction workers when the bridge was rebuilt in the 1930s – on Monday 13 February.

After the walk, attendees will hear from the CEO of Stemettes and our President, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, as well as Dr Laura Norton, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the Institution of Engineering and Technology to shed light on this issue.

Registration is free and now open.

It’s cause for concern that a third of students haven’t or don’t remember being taught about a woman scientist in the past two years. Representation matters. All young people, especially those who are traditionally underrepresented in science such as girls, should be given the opportunity to learn about the diverse people and careers in STEM. This will help to challenge unhelpful stereotypes, raise young people’s STEM aspirations and show them that science is for everyone – regardless of your background.

- Hannah Russell, Chief Executive of the British Science Association (BSA)

Smashing Stereotypes

In an article for the New Scientist, Maria Rossini, Head of Education here at the BSA, discussed how a lack of female scientists in the GSCE science curriculum (just two, in comparison to the 40 named male scientists) means girls have far fewer role models to look up to – something which is proven to affect young people’s future career choices.

The Smashing Stereotypes campaign wants to help change this. Run by the BSA as part of British Science Week each year, Smashing Stereotypes is a collection of over 30 stories from individuals and teams working in STEM that challenge long-standing stereotypes (including the stereotype that certain jobs in STEM sectors are ‘for men’).

The aim of the campaign is to encourage more young people, from all backgrounds, genders, and interests, to see themselves as scientists.

This year’s Smashing Stereotypes campaign will include over a dozen brand-new profiles from people working in a range of different sectors from, video game development to motorsports and animal health. Look out for the new profiles in the run-up to British Science Week 2023 (10 – 19 March), but in the meantime, why not delve into our fantastic library of 30+ profiles and learn about the different ways you can get involved – including sharing your own #SmashingStereotypes story.

Here’s just a small selection of the Smashing Stereotypes stories:

Inspiring a new generation of curious minds

Sara Berkai, 
Founder, Ambessa Play

Forging your own path into a science career

Harshnira Patani, Senior Scientist in Drug Discovery, MSD

An unconventional route into finding a dream STEM career

Donna Gowland, 
Continuous Improvement Manager, 3M

London Graduate STEM Women Careers Event

The London Graduate STEM Women Careers Event is a free opportunity for students and recent graduates to network with over 30 different STEM employers. The event will take place on 15 February 2023 and the agenda includes networking, live talks and a panel discussion featuring representatives working in STEM sectors. Prepare to get inspired!

Delve into our essential IDWGIS reads and podcast episodes…


This issue includes a podcast episode with Dawn Butler MP in her capacity as a member of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee. It also includes an online article with Dr Becca Wilson, interdisciplinary researcher at the University of Liverpool, who also features in our Smashing Stereotypes campaign. 

Having a designated day where you can celebrate the women [..], particularly in those in high-achieving or in leadership roles in scientific disciplines, means you can use that as a platform to raise awareness.

- Dr Becca Wilson, as featured in the Womanthology article ‘Why open science is better science

Lost Women of Science tells the forgotten stories of female scientists who made ground breaking achievements in their fields to inspire girls and young women to embark on careers in STEM.


In this book, President of the BSA, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE shows that women have more agency than we think, drawing on her own experience and the stories of other pioneers and innovators to provide examples, exercises and practical guidance for how to get started and take control.

There will always be problems. But, as we know, women are problem-solvers. - Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon

This book features 50 illustrated portraits of trailblazing women in STEM throughout history. It’s jam-packed with striking art, and contains infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields and an illustrated scientific glossary.


Take a stance

On February 11, use the official #WomenInScience hashtag on social media to join the conversation, defy gender stereotypes ,and spread the word on the need to include more women and  irls in STEM fields. Tag the British Science Association on socials as we’d be delighted to amplify your message.

LinkedIn: @BritishScienceAssociation Facebook: @BritishScienceAssociation  Instagram: @BritishScienceAssociation Twitter: @BritSciAssoc YouTube: @BritSciAssoc TikTok: @BritSciAssoc


* Gender is the cultural meanings assigned to biological sexes within specific historical and geographic ways of being. It is a social construct and not the same as biological sex.

** STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and maths.