Gender equality and women pioneers in and for science

Type of tool: 
90-120 min
Topics addressed: 
Gender issues
Human rights

“Gender equality and women pioneers in and for science” aims to define the role of women in the origins of modern science, to identify barriers imposed by society in women and to support girls in their future involvement in science.


The general purpose of the tool is to define the role of women in the origins of modern science, to present positive female role models and create interest for women in STEAM education


• Short presentation
• Cooperative learning
• Case study
• Techniques from the Theatre of the Oppressed (image and/or forum theatre, depending on the audience)

Step by step process: 

1. Participants sit in a circle and are asked to name women scientists that they know of.
2. A short presentation is given on women who tried to break the barriers when modern science was developing. The focus is on why and how women were excluded from science.
3. A case study is presented: The life and work of Emilie du Châtelet.
4. Participants are divided in groups and discuss the case study: advantages and disadvantages that they can identify in her life, the role of her family and social circle, her contribution in science.
5. An image theatre technique is applied, in order to understand fully the gender issue in science and create personal meaning and possibly engage in further actions.
• Each group freezes themselves in a pose that reflects their discussion in stage 4 and present a group-sculpture.
• The other groups pose questions to the group-sculpture in order to understand the group’s depiction.
• Then the group unfreezes and another group takes the stage.
• The process is repeated until all the groups have the chance to present their still image.

6. Closure Activity: “Pass the gift”: In a circle and in total silence each group member forms with his/her hands a gift, like a star or a flower, and passes it over to the person next to him/her.
7. Evaluation activity: “What did I learn and how do I feel about it”- reflection.

Materials and resources: 

• Pens and paper
• PC with working internet connection
• Projector and projection screen
• Presentation software (preferably ppt, pptx)


Expected outcomes:
• To value the contribution of women pioneers in the development of modern science
• To understand limitations posed by society on women in and for science
• To inform on why STEAM education is poorer without women
• To inspire more women to get involved in STEAM education


The tool was evaluated at the end of the event. The method of evaluation was reflection on the subject and the whole procedure.

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