The Faculty of Dentistry Highlights Women in STEM

Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science

“Draw a scientist.”

This is the question sociologist David Wade Chambers asked 4807 schoolchildren from 1966 to 1977. When prompted, the thousands of students drew what they imagined as a scientist, yet only 28 of them pictured a female scientist—that’s only 0.6%. In his article on La presse, Philippe Mercure traces how Chambers’ experiment has been taken up by sociologists many times over since then. The percentage of children that pictured female scientists rose to 28% in the 1980s, and has generally stayed there since. The experiments show the importance of introducing female role models in sciences to children. Today, only 25% of careers in STEM-related fields (engineering, sciences, technology, mathematics, etc.) are held by women, while women only show for 13% of workers in engineering.

But things are changing for the better. As the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, today is a great opportunity to reflect, celebrate, and highlight the role of women in STEM fields. In the Faculty of Dentistry, specifically, we are proud to highlight that nearly 50% of our full time Faculty are women. We were equally proud to highlight the six research projects recently funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, 3 of which were led by women in the Faculty. From Dr. Mary Ellen Macdonald’s work developing bold new research areas in migrant oral health, to Dr. Frances Power’s invaluable work and community leadership with the Dentistry Mobile Clinics and Oral Health and Society Division, and the many other women doing important and innovative research—what remains clear is the Faculty of Dentistry doesn’t have a shortage of role models for women in STEM.

Follow us on Twitter to see highlights from the Faculty on the #InternationalDayOfWomenAndGirlsInScience

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