Ground-breaking female scholars

International Day of Women & Girls in Science

Tuesday, February 11th has been declared the International Day of Women and Girls in Science by the United Nations General Assembly. The day is meant to encourage females around the globe to study STEAM-related subjects, with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of female researchers from its current level of only 30 per cent worldwide. Women and girls constitute half of the world’s population, so it’s vital that potential isn’t wasted. We need to overturn longstanding biases and gender stereotypes that have steered females away from science-related fields.

The Faculty of Science is proud to have contributed some truly ground-breaking female scholars to the world, including such outliers as Annie Norrington, Yvonne Brill and Jennifer Shay.

Norrington holds the distinction of being the first female to receive a BSc degree from the UM. As part of the inaugural 1915 Faculty of Science Student Council, she was the lone woman on council and went on to become its’ first female president. She blazed the trail for every female Science student since 1917.

Brill was a pioneer in the world of aeronautical engineering. Her invention of the electrothermal hydrazine thruster changed the world of spacecraft propulsion forever by keeping orbiting satellites truer to their designed orbits while using less fuel than other methods.

Shay’s legacy includes the founding of the renowned Delta Marsh Field Station, which ushered in the era of hands-on field work. Shay won national recognition for her environmental work and community service.

These individuals represent a rich history of women in science at the U of M. To honour their legacy, we need to build on it by encouraging young women now and in the future to choose science as the avenue of their expression. On February 11th, the Faculty of Science invites you to join in the celebration of women and girls in science!

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