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China Daily / 2022-12 / 24 / Page004

Women in science can change world

By Beate Trankmann and Smriti Aryal | China Daily | Updated: 2022-12-24 00:00

From climate change to the energy crisis, to COVID-19, the answers to our most universal challenges lie in science. Yet in seeking them, we still exclude the brainpower of half the world — women and girls.

Just 28 percent of engineering graduates, one-third of scientific researchers worldwide and three percent of Nobel laureates are women. At the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, only seven percent of academicians are women. Such imbalances not only risk replicating gender biases and inequalities in new technologies, but also lead to expertise and talent shortages across science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, globally that society can ill afford. For a future that truly includes everyone, women and girls must be able to participate in science fully and equally.

When they do, the rewards are high. Take Tu Youyou, the first Chinese Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine in 2015, decades after discovering the malaria treatment, artemisinin. "Every scientist dreams of doing something that can help the world," she said. When more women become scientists, more people become able to do so.

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