Incredible women in science

UNICEF Cambodia
Feb 11, 2019 · 3 min read

By Chansereypich Seng

© UNICEF Cambodia/2018/Chansereypich Seng

Did you know today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science? Today we celebrate the women who have changed the world and those who work hard every day to bring gender equality to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

With the advancement of the fourth industrial revolution, the world is demanding more jobs in STEM. However, only 12% of women are employed in STEM jobs, as suggested by the 2015 Gender Bias Without Border study.

Support girls in STEM! Here are three amazing women scientists who have made the world a better place for all of us.

1. Marie Curie

© Nobel Prize

Marie Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. She was born in Warsaw, Poland and later moved to Paris to study. There, she met her husband Perrie Curie, a professor of the School of Physics and together they worked on investigating radioactivity.

Marie and Pierre were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903. In 1911, she received another Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Marie’s work was one of the greatest in her time, especially for x-rays in surgery during World War I. Read more about her life here.

2. Youyou Tu

© Nobel Media AB. Photo: A. Mahmoud

Youyou Tu received her Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2015. She was born in late 1930 in China. For over 50 years, she worked at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine — currently, she is a Chief Scientist.

The Nobel Prize motivation for Youyou is “for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria”. Youyou extracted artemisinin, a substance which inhibits the malaria parasite. This discovery has helped millions of lives around the world. Read more about her here.

3. Donna Strickland

© Nobel Media AB. Photo: A. Mahmoud

Donna Strickland won her Nobel Prize in 2018 in Physics. She has developed chirped pulse amplification that is used in many practices including corrective eye surgeries. Donna and her PhD supervisor were awarded “for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.”

To learn more about her, read here.

© UNICEF Cambodia/2018/Todd Brown

UNICEF and its Capacity Development Partnership Fund (CDPF) partners are working to bring STEM education to every boy and girl in Cambodia. This programme supports the General Secondary Education Department to better prepare 125 math and science teachers (30 women) from 12 upper-secondary schools. During these workshops, the teachers learn how to respond to different learning capabilities among students, to motivate their students, to use positive feedback for better results as well as manage the class.

One day one of their students can be the first Cambodian Nobel prize winner!

Note for Editors: The Capacity Development Partnership Fund (CDPF) is a multi-donor fund led by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) with support from the European Union, the Swedish International Development Agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Global Partnership for Education, and UNICEF.

UNICEF Cambodia

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UNICEF works to protect and uphold the rights of all children in Cambodia

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