Stats don’t lie. Canada – and the world – needs more women in STEM, specifically those exploring the heavens. At Canadian universities, only 21 per cent of astronomy professors are female.
Western University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy has the most gender-balanced astronomy group in the country as 38.5 per cent of the professors are female.
Pauline Barmby, Margaret Campbell-Brown, Sarah Gallagher, Carol E. Jones and Els Peeters are leaders in various national and international scientific and governing agencies and serve as inspiring examples to future generations of female scientists.
And future female scientists are invited to connect with some of these interstellar stars as Western hosts Girls and Women in Astronomy Night on Monday, February 11.
The event, in part a celebration of the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science, runs from 5 to 9 p.m. at Western’s Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory.
“Girls and Women in Astronomy Night aims to stimulate girls to consider a career in astronomy by recognizing and celebrating women and non-binary astronomers here at Western and in the world and beyond,” says Parshati Patel, Outreach Program Coordinator for Western’s Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration.
Included in the programming are talks by Western faculty, including Barmby, Gallagher and Peeters, current students and alumni as well as the “Ask a Woman Astronomer” panel when guests will have a chance to ask questions about astronomy, career pathways and life as a female astronomer.
There will be quizzes, games and prizes too and the opportunity to stargaze through Cronyn’s 10-inch main telescope as well as other telescopes.