MONDAY, April 15, 2024
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Science Film Festival 2022 asks: Why so few women scientists?

Science Film Festival 2022 asks: Why so few women scientists?

If asked to name a female scientist, most people will mention Marie Curie – the Polish-French physicist who discovered radium and polonium, and contributed to the treatment of cancer.

But she died some 88 years ago, and since then, hardly any women have become household names in the scientific industry.

Addressing this very problem is the German short film “Mind the Gap – (No) Role Models”, which is among the 34 films being shown at the 18th Science Film Festival, which runs until December 20.

The theme of the festival this year is “Equal Opportunities in Science”, which aims to shed light on the role of women in science.

The Science Film Festival was launched in 2005 by the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST) in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut of Thailand.

Over the years, the event has won increasing support from partners and organisations and has also been on the radar of teachers, students and parents.

Science Film Festival 2022 asks: Why so few women scientists?

Last year’s event attracted 286,823 viewers and was also shown in other countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East, IPST president Assoc Prof Dr Thiradet Jiarasuksakun said.

“This year’s festival focuses on sharing opportunities in the exploration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM] subjects, so people have better opportunities and can keep up with the rapidly changing world,” he said.

“STEM focuses on the real-life application of integrated knowledge to cope with the changes and challenges in the modern world. It helps us build the ability of learning, working, solving problems as well as searching and analysing new findings to be able to handle every situation that may arise.”

Science Film Festival 2022 asks: Why so few women scientists?

As per the 2021 Unesco Science Report, one in three researchers globally is a woman. In Africa, 30% of science professionals are women and more women are enrolling to study STEM courses.

Yet, women and girls are still under-represented in this industry. Globally, only 12% of science students are women, and they comprise slightly over a quarter (28%) of tertiary graduates in engineering and 40% of computer science graduates.

H E Mr Georg Schmidt, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Thailand

“When we talk about gender diversity and inclusion, it should start at school. A society that does not allow inclusion will end up overlooking people’s potential. Also, we can’t achieve sustainability, if women are excluded,” German Ambassador Georg Schmidt said in his opening remarks.

“If you don’t include women, you will miss half of the picture.”

This year’s festival offers films under the categories of Family Edutainment; Natural Science, Life Science and Technology; Non-Verbal and Science Shorts; and Ecology and Environment.

The offerings come from India, Australia, Germany, Ireland, Angola, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, Croatia, Malawi, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The films will be shown for free from November 1 to December 20. Venues include the NSTDA Thailand Science Park, the Thai Film Archive, the National Science Museum, City Learning Park Nakhon Si Thammarat and Science Centres in other provinces such as Ubon Ratchathani, Lampang, Roi Et, Kanchanaburi, Yala, Sa Kaew, Trang, Nakhon Sawan, Khon Kaen, Ayutthaya, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Nakhon Phanom, Phitsanulok, Narathiwat, Pattani and Nakhon Ratchasima.

Schools and teachers also can apply to use the films as teaching material in classrooms via https://sciencefilm.ipst.ac.th/

The films can also be watched online via a streaming system, which requires viewers to register first. To ease accessibility, all films are dubbed in Thai and have subtitles.

Assis Prof Dr Rawin Raviwongse, President of the National Science Museum Thailand

“Building a local group of youngsters with talent in science and engineering will be critical in supporting Thailand’s continued economic success in moving towards a sustainable future,” said Dr Bicky Bhangu, president of Rolls-Royce – Southeast Asia, Pacific and South Korea, which is sponsoring the festival.

He added that Rolls-Royce has been in Thailand for more than three decades now and has invested extensively in STEM projects and aims to expand access to 25 million people worldwide by 2030.

Dr Bicky Bhangu, President of Rolls-Royce–Southeast Asia, Pacific and South Korea

The event was opened by German Ambassador Schmidt and the Education Ministry’s special adviser to the Office of the Permanent Secretary Duriya Amatavivat. Also present were IPST president Assoc Prof Dr Thiradet Jiarasuksakun, director of the Goethe-Institut Thailand Johannes Hossfeld, president of the National Museum Thailand Asst Prof Dr Rawin Raviwongse and Dr Bhangu from Rolls-Royce among others.

Mr Johannes Hossfeld, Director of the Goethe-Institut Thailand

Also contributing to the film festival are the National Science Museum Thailand in cooperation with the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education (SEAMEO STEM-ED) and Rolls-Royce Southeast Asia as a key partner.

The list of films can be found at: https://www.goethe.de/prj/sff/en/lae/san/tha.cfm

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