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Know More Women in Science

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How can you support under-represented people? Liz Waid and Bruce Gulland tell about Jess Wade. She is helping women in science get the credit they deserve.

Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2  

And I’m Bruce Gulland. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Click here to follow along with this program on YouTube.
Voice 1  

Jess Wade is a research scientist at the Imperial College in the United Kingdom. In fact, Wade is a good scientist. But Wade is also a woman. This can make her job a challenge. Sometimes it does not matter how good a scientist she is. That is because the people she works with treat her differently because she is a woman. In a video for the website Now This News she says,

Voice 3  

“As a woman, people expect you to do the day-to-day tasks. Or order the food or get the meeting room. Or look after the students. Those kind of things. And there is a problem with those jobs falling on women in subjects like science and engineering. These are kinds of housekeeping jobs. These jobs will not get you recognized as a scientist. They are not work that will get you a better job.”

Voice 2  

Wade wanted to change this. She did not just want to make her own life better. She wanted to make life better for all women. In this way, she would make life better for all people. Today’s Spotlight is on Jess Wade’s work to recognize women in science.

Voice 1  

Wade is not the first person to notice that women in science do not get the credit they deserve for their work. She learned about this issue from Alice White. White is a scientific historian. She helped Wade understand the problem by thinking about Wikipedia. Wade explained to Now This News,

Voice 3  

“Alice told me that of all the people with a page on Wikipedia, only 17 percent are about women. You could be looking up some kind of new solar material. Or you could be looking up a building in Florence, Italy. And the people that you read about will be men. And that frightened me.”

Voice 2  

Wikipedia is the fifth-most used website in the world. It is a free collection of human knowledge. The English version gets over 500 million views each month. There are over 300 different language versions of Wikipedia. Websites such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Amazon use Wikipedia for information.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Voice 1  

Anyone can write or change Wikipedia. The idea is that lots of people working together on something will be better than a few people. Wade believed she could use Wikipedia to recognize women scientists. So she learned how to create new pages on Wikipedia. She learned how to add to pages that needed more information. She began by writing one new page each day.

Voice 2  

The first woman Wade wrote about was Professor Kim Cobb. Cobb is a climate scientist who works on coral reefs in the ocean. Professor Cobb did not have a Wikipedia page. So Wade wrote one.

Voice 1  

Next, Wade wrote a page about Susan Goldberg. Goldberg was the first woman to be editor of National Geographic. Goldberg did not have a Wikipedia page. So Wade wrote one. Then Wade wrote a page for another woman. Then another. Wade told The Guardian.

Voice 3  

“I have done about 270 pages in the past year. I had a target for doing one a day. But sometimes I get too excited and do three.”

Screen capture of Susan Goldberg’s Wikipedia Page
Voice 2  

She says that Wikipedia is a great method for representing these women. She continued,

Voice 3  

“Wikipedia is a really great way to involve people in this work. That is because the more you read about these amazing women, the more you get so inspired by their personal stories.”

Voice 1  

Wade has been recognized for her work writing on Wikipedia. She has even won awards. But this is not her goal. Her goal is to make the world a better place for women in science. She speaks to girls at schools about choosing a job in sciences. She buys copies of books about women in science and gives them away. She would love for other people to help her write Wikipedia pages. But more than that, she wants everyone to help in any way they can. She explained to Now This News.

Voice 3  

“We could all do a better job of celebrating the women and under-represented groups who are in science and in engineering and technology. And in any job where you are in the minority. I think that at every chance we can, we should try and support someone else. And if you have been given a chance, that is so great! But then you have to help someone else at the same time.”

Voice 2  

So what can you do to encourage women in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics? One simple way is to celebrate The International Day of Women and Girls in Science every year on February 11. This day celebrates women from around the world who work in areas of science or technology. Patricia Espinosa is an Executive Secretary for the United Nations, she explained the need for a day like this.

Voice 4  

“Amazing women through history have affected the world of science in important and life-giving ways. From the fourth century astronomer, Hypatia to Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhan. There is Tu Youyou of China. She discovered the anti-malarial drug artemisinin. Yet women do not have enough representation in science and in engineering. This stops everyone from getting a better future for current and future generations. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science should celebrate their achievements. But it should also push all nations and organizations to find ways to open the doors to this large group of talented people.”

Jess Wade; Photo by Dave Guttridge, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Voice 1  

You can also do something every day of the year to recognize women in science. Every person knows girls and women who are, or could be, good in science. Encourage them to consider a job in science. Name someone for an award. Tell her to speak at a conference. Put her forward for a promotion, or better job. We can all do something, even if it is reading Jess Wade’s own Wikipedia page.

Voice 2  

Are you a woman in science? What other ways can people recognize women in science? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 1  

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Know More Women in Science’.

Voice 2  

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you know a woman or girl who is interested in science? Are you interested in science?

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7 comments
  • Hi everyone each of you, I’m not a woman but I have two nice sister. They are not scientist but after reading this spotlight, I’m going to encourage my daughter to become a scientist.
    Thank you for all you do for me because with this spotlight my English is getting better.

  • hi everyone
    i’m enjoyed very mush and gratuful for all efforts of the peoples who’s participate at this project to help the people to improve their language , also auther and writers of the episodes deserve our appreciation as the learners because they make learning process very simple and attractive . i wish for all team which working in this site to get a succsess and keep it up . continue this amazing episode and my advice to the learners ” step by step you will reach your goal ” no matter how much you walk forward for your goal but don’t stop and miss the way for your goal

  • I don’t know a woman or girl who is interested in science. But I know a woman who is interested and worthy of respect. She is my mother. She worked hard for me for more than 20 years.

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