Press release: Event shows a career in science is exciting for all

‘WiseNight’ event organisers highlight gender gap in science and tech —more girls need to be encouraged that a career in scientific research is for them.

Leading organisations from across Belgium are coming together in a public event to celebrate science and show children and young people — particularly girls — that scientific research is an exciting and realistic career opportunity for them. ‘WiseNight’, a free event, will be held in Brussels from 24-25 September 2021.

WiseNight, the initiative of seven organisations including The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and The Planetarium of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, is coordinated by BeWiSe (Belgian Women in Science). It seeks to close the gender gap and help achieve a world where female and male scientists are on an equal footing. It is part of the ‘European Researchers’ Night’, taking place simultaneously across Europe.

The two-day, activity-filled event for all ages focuses on new trends in land, water and space science and technology. It will showcase the achievement of women scientists and technicians, highlighting that science and research are dynamic career opportunities for women. Despite efforts to increase the numbers of women in the fields of science and research they continue to be dominated by men. According to the latest statistics, only one-third of researchers in the European Union are women, a figure unchanged since 2015 (‘She Figures 2018’).

Even though the number of people in higher education studying these subjects is increasing, in 2018 two times more men than women in the EU graduated in science and technology. And in Belgium the figure rises to nearly three times more, ranking it among the worst EU countries for gender equality in this area (Eurostat).

Ann Van der Jeugd, President of BeWiSe said: “The European targets of gender equality won’t be reached without a significant increase in the number of women students choosing science as their subjects. WiseNight seeks to change that and challenge the stereotype of science as a lone male preserve. Scientific research is exciting. It is for the curious and characterised by teamwork and fieldwork. It is crucial for protecting the health of the planet, particularly as we face the devastating impacts of the climate emergency and biodiversity loss. With WiseNight we aim to show young people of all ages, especially girls, the varied and exciting opportunities they can have in scientific careers and how they can make a difference now and to future generations.”

WiseNight’s activities include a range of events for 5-14-year-olds, such as getting involved in the workings of wind power, extraction of DNA and exploring biodiversity, as well as activities for people of all ages, such as discussion/Q&A opportunities with women scientists; learning about European programmes and policies on space, the Green Deal, Erasmus+, gendered research and more; as well as a film about space. The activities will be available in Dutch, French and English.

Event: WiseNight
When: Friday 24 – Saturday 25 September, 2021; 9.00-20.00
Where: The Museum of Natural Sciences and the Planetarium, Brussels
For full details and programme of events and to register please see: https://wisenight.eu

Free

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Register for WiseNight and gain free access on Friday 27 and 28 September 2024.

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