At a time when so many international, regional and national decisions are being made based on science, and sometimes on incorrectly determined scientific research, it is becoming increasingly important to inform the public and policy-makers about how women in science achievements is bringing economic and sustainable development benefits to society.
Based on RASIT’s collective data on:
a) gender and science education and employment; b) social- and political- issues concerning women and girls in science advancement and empowerment worldwide; and c) based on the social impact of HRH Princess Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite on girls and women in science;
The “Science Princess” Global Campaign: A Movement was signed into being on 11 February 2017 as an independent international Program of RASIT.
The Science Princess Campaign as a Movement celebrates the achievements of women, known and unknown, remembered and forgotten, who have forged the way for those of us in science today, and to give an opportunity for children: girls and boys, to choose role models in science.
The Campaign champions strongly women in all fields of science as one of the fundamental pillars of peace, prosperity and sustainable development.
The Campaign is committed to improve the lives of girls and young women by giving them opportunities to shape their own future and the future of their communities, and to be the lead innovators of tomorrow – TODAY.
The Science Princess Campaign is a small step in the process toward encouraging the equality and parity of science in policy: to appreciate, inspire, educate and encourage the public to value the accomplishments of women in science and invest in girls’ science education.
Can we afford not to speak out in defending the rights of girls in science, or the equality and parity rights of women in science?
Ignoring the role of women in science in sustainable development jeopardizes society’s unity, harmony and development, and the future of our world.
The Campaign encourages women in science to reach out to their communities, sharing their achievements and their impacts on people's everyday lives. It is also important to communicate with the public by: visiting schools, engaging with charitable organizations, giving opportunities for youth, etc. Further, the Campaign aims to encourage women in science, in turn, to listen to communities and consider their future work plans from the perspective of the people they serve.
Making the inclusive world envisioned in the United Nations 2030 Development Agenda a reality will require the inclusion of women in science in decision-making and policy formulation and implementation at all levels of government, private sector, diplomacy, academia and other sectors. This requires clear consideration on the role of women in science in development strategies and in the development of strategic, multi-year work programmes of United Nations agencies and programmes. It also requires from policy- makers rethinking on the manner in which policies are conceived and delivered.
The Campaign’s work is supported by concrete action in the form of specific programs specially designed for Women and Girls in Science. RASIT and partners are also responsible for ensuring the coherence of the Program, while further developing its various actions, particularly by elaborating an overall strategy and priorities.
Why “Science Princess”?
How we will be able to attract, train and retain young women and girls, from all backgrounds, into different fields of sciences, if the media gender stereotyping found in portrayals of women in science is still playing a significant negative impact on the participation of young women and girls in science.
It is not only the media, sometimes the portrayals are coming from women in professional societies and associations. For example, there are some women in science societies’ campaigns directed towards young girls saying, “Forget Princess, I want to be a scientist”. Unfortunately, several studies revealed the negative impact of such campaigns on girls’ interest in science.
Before its inception, the Campaign has generated a great deal of conversation around the phrase “Science Princess”. There is no doubt that Women Scientists are making progress in breaking down the stereotypical image of a scientist, but some preconceived notions and biases still remain. Despite innovative programming and messaging of girls in science fields and images of women as scientists, children and adults alike still view the image of a male as representative of science.
A focus of RASIT and its Women in Science International League has been to have profiles and social images of female scientists appear correctly. Although RASIT is doing great advocacy to promote and to encourage empowered women in science, our psychosocial field studies show that the image of the typical woman who is a scientist is also a major part of the reason more women and girls do not go into careers in science or technology.
The “Science Princess” has been chosen purposefully to challenge the stereotypes around personal appearance that are often applied to girls.
Girls can be both, Women can be both. Affectionately referred to worldwide as "The Science Princess", Her Royal Highness Princess Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite, because of her status as a renowned medical doctor and scientist herself, was able to bring together governments and the United Nations to create the International Day of Women and Girls in Science celebrated annually on 11 February.
Some people might be upset by the idea that women in science should be pretty. That is not what the Campaign is saying. It is using the word “Princess” to start a conversation and to attract girls’ attention. The message we want to get across – which is a really important message– is that you do not have to lose your femininity to work in Science. And at the moment there is that psychological barrier, and as long as that is the case, we will only have a minority of girls who want to work in those areas.
We really want girls to see science as an area of work that is welcoming to them whoever they are and whatever their personality is, not as something that is linked to their appearance or the outward expression of their gender.
There are jobs in science that require all sorts of personality types, that require creativity, imagination, communication skills and an ability to work with others. Some of these qualities are traditionally seen as “feminine” and the idea that science does not require, or indeed embrace, such traits is wrong, and can put off both girls and boys who see themselves as imaginative and passionate, rather than just logical or analytical.
What if a girl could be the one to invent something that has the potential to save lives? When we encourage girls to pursue science whether life science, social science, technology, engineering, statistics, or medicine, we increase the potential to solve problems. If she stays in science, she could be the one to change the world.
Global Campaign for Women & Girls in Science
Building a Momentum for Equality and Parity in Science