International Women and Girls day in science?

Today, it’s international day of women and girls in science. Let’s celebrate! I feel like this is the first year I want to express my honest opinion on the landscape present and future of women in science. I hear and have been hearing loads blanket statements around the topic and I have always hidden my opinion. After many years supporting women in science, managing a social media page that uplifts and amplifies the voice of women and girls who struggle to exist in science, and least but not last, being a woman with a disability in science (and life) myself, I decided to come forward with my usual unpopular opinions. DISCLAIMER: this post is based on my views, it isn’t an attack to anyone. Everyone has the right to express themselves freely and this is a space I created to share my own views. If you aren’t interested, please, feel free to disagree respectful and if not, just move on and peace out!

Here my unconventional path in SCIENCE. I honestly feel awkward when people ask the question “why a scientist? what attracted you into STEM?” as I was never exposed to science as a kid. I know that people usually answer by saying “my parents were scientists.., the first time I got the microscope… or I went to this science festival with my parents”. I never had any of this. The first time I heard about chemistry, I was 14 years old when I had a module on general chemistry in school. I liked it so much that I decided that chemistry was what I wanted to it for a living. I got a degree in chemistry, a Phd and 20 years later I got my dream job. I don’t have any role model in science really outside the teacher who taught that chemistry module in school. The idea of a career as a scientist for women is a new one and there was no one doing it 20/25 years ago when I was growing up. I created my own path since the day I was 14 and I was my own role model.

Sorry to upset your white mentality and elitism, but my parents weren’t scientists and I had no one helping me in this choice!

Any non-white, poor, emarginated, disabled, non traditional scientist.

The writer Rupi Kaur said, “I am not interested in a feminist that think putting women at the top of oppressive systems is progress!” and I can’t agree more. On the list of blanket statement, let’s move to the next one: “we need more women in science”, “we need to reach quota”. I would like to see more women to be in science, but this must be a deliberate choice.Women shouldn’t be pushed into a profession just because we need more women in science and having a 50:50 workforce does not mean equality. Equality and diversity mean to understand which struggle women (and everyone else) face and make sure that those barriers are eliminated. Simply placing women on top of misogynistic, white, patriarchal systems of power where minorities are forced to be nice to their oppressors IS NOT PROGRESS. Ultimately whose system are you trying to fit in?

I’m not interested in a feminism that think putting women on top of oppressive system is power.

Rupi Kuar

To conclude on a motivational, empowering and inspiring note all l I can say to those who reached that far reading my article is to follow their dreams. People are entitled to have opinions and make comments like “what’s the prospect for women in science?, it’s a real job? Only boys do science!”. What you want to make of those misogynistic comments is your own choice and you can easily decide not to care less about unsolicited/unwanted, unwelcome comments of strangers. My rule of thumb for life is “If your opinion doesn’t pay my bills, it’s none of my business.” Science is an empowering profession that allows for critical thinking and intellectual freedom. It’s the most creative and empowering job I can think of. To me being a woman in science means freedom and independence. No one can turn up to me and dictate what I think, what I say and how I should behave. I question everything that is there to question, I challenge people and the status quo constantly and I am glad that science taught me how to be a critical thinker.

Everyone struggles with imposter syndrome, even those who seems to have it all.


To keep it realistic, the journey isn’t easy, the job is tough and it’s a lonely one. You will face moment of anxiety, depression, impostor syndrome, moments when you question your own choices and ask yourself “what this is all about? what am I doing here?” literally 100 times a day every day. This is all normal, it’s normal to question yourself and equate the outcome of your success in the profession whit your own self-worth. It is important to acknowledge those feelings, understand where they are coming from and being able to deal with them maturely. This isn’t a one-day job. It is the outcome of many trials and errors, failing, making mistakes and learning from those mistakes. Keep failing, keep asking questions, keep learning and don’t be embarrassed to say “I don’t know, I haven’t thought of that, can you explain it to me in an easier way?“. Whoever shames you for feeling inadequate or asking questions might be a scientist but one of the worst kind you can come across.

I know women have it hard to exist in science and I struggle with all of the above feelings as well. I have moments where I question my worth and my ability to do the job, there are things I don’t know and that’s okay. Stay curious, stay humble and keep learning, science needs visionary minds and everyone can do it, not only white dudes, rich and from English speaking countries. Stay cool!

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