We stand at a moment of opportunity for women in science, and we have many reasons to be optimistic as we look forward. First, nations around the world are increasing spending on science and technology. With the view that science is an engine of economic growth, this trend can be expected to continue. Second, programs and policies are increasingly being put in place to support women’s re-entry to the scientific workforce following time off to care for young children or other family members. Third, information technology offers new opportunities for communities of women worldwide to share information, receive leadership training and mentoring, and provide support to each other in real-time. And fourth, the topic of women in science is receiving attention in an array of international policy settings, including within the United Nations system, as it relates to sustainable development, transparency, rule of law, good governance, and building democracy.
As the global community takes stock of the women in science agenda and its sister issue – education of girls in science – an examination of the contributions of women scientists who are leading change will be useful. This presentation will highlight the efforts of a few women scientists whose efforts to address tough challenges require multi-disciplinary approaches. The
women scientists to be profiled see connections among disciplines and they seize opportunities for action at the interface of disciplines. They see science in a broad societal context. They are change agents. They are role models. They inspire.
In an increasingly complex and inter-connected world, and one in which we work to overcome inequities, we should celebrate the truly creative and effective efforts of these women for global good. And, at the same time, we should work to understand our own responsibilities as women in science -- working as laboratory leaders, teachers, program managers, government officials, writers, or diplomats -- to serve as change agents in a changing world.