Was 2016 the year of women in STEM?


As 2017 is upon us, many of us are just glad that this year is over. But one positive thing to come from 2016, has been the steps made to address the lack of women in STEM and recognising women’s achievements.

This year we saw Margaret Hamilton, a computer scientist that played a crucial role in the Apollo Space Program, was awarded the Presidential Award of Freedom by Barack Obama. She received this accolade for her work in leading the development of the on-board flight software for NASA’s Apollo Moon missions. And this recognition highlighted the rarity of women in STEM being acknowledged in the field, especially as this year’s Nobel prizes contained no female winners (and yes, I am still bitter about it).

We also got to see a rare glimpse of equality in science, as 50% of NASA’s latest class of astronauts were female. This signifies a huge leap forward, as areas these areas of science are typically male dominated; in fact, women usually make up such a small proportion of these sector of STEM, that they could be considered a statistical anomaly.

And on a personal note, I gave a lecture at the European Space Agency in Paris and gave a TED Talk about women in STEM – two things I never thought I would get to say!

So, even though a lot of us have found 2016 pretty tough, we have to take the positives with the negatives. And, if women in STEM take on 2017 with the determination they did with 2016, we will be making even larger strides forward towards equality in science.

And what have we got to look forward to next year?



Last-Minute STEM Gifts for everyone

It is Christmas, and if you shop like me, everything is totally planned out to perfection, including searching for gender-neutral toys for kids.

So (for all you last-minute shoppers) I thought I would put together a gift guide, that would help encourage kids into STEM – and are non-gendered!

  1. WowWee COJI Smart Robot Programming Toy

    Get kids coding with an affordable and clever toy, that helps children to develop their STEM skills.

    Using the universal language of emojis, the WowWee Smart Robot gets kids thinking about programming!

  2. Water Experiment Kit

    John Lewis have a selection of science toys in plain black packaging, making them non-gendered and engaging for everyone.

  3. Make Your Own Bouncy Balls

    Borax is not boring! Annoy your friends with small children by giving their children the chance to make small objects to through around!

  4. Clever Putty

    Squishy, malleable and reforms under gravity! Keep the kids busy for about five minutes with this stocking filler.

  5. STEM Sink or Float Activity Set

    Even tiny tots can start thinking scientifically, and this bath set will make physics accessible for toddlers.

  6.  CLEMENTONI Archeofun T-REX Glow in the dark Scientific Kit

    One word – Dinosaurs!

  7. Learning Resources Counting Cookies Game

    Make maths mouth-watering with the Counting Cookies Game, getting kids to count from a young age: Suitable for 2yrs and up.

  8. Brainstorm Toys Animal Torch

    A simple little stocking filler helps mini zoologists get to grips with the animal kingdom.

  9. Salt Water Motor Cycle

    This salt water fuel cell toy is an eco toy for kids – perfect for future inventors to help cut carbon emissions.

  10. Science Museum Impossible Balancer

    Another stocking filler introducing children’s to the ideas of physics – all packaged up in gender-neutral packaging.