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International Day of Women and Girls in Science

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

To celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science on the 11th of February, we asked you all who’s been your biggest female inspiration within science.

Dead or alive, fact or fiction, here is what you guys shared.

Maggie Philbin

“I used to watch Tomorrow’s World in the 1980’s and Maggie Philbin was my favourite presenter. I was at boarding school and TV viewing was pretty limited but TW was one of the permitted programmes we were allowed to watch every week. Maggie always explained the new tech/science in a down to earth way that people of all ages could understand and someone I could relate to. I always wanted to pursue a science-based career from a young age and believe that Tomorrow’s World, particularly Maggie Philbin, had something to do with encouraging my curiosity for finding out how things work.”

Vicky Clackson, Lead Science Technician – Bohunt School and 6th Form

Jess Wade

“For writing (and getting accepted) all the Wikipedia entries for women scientists, and for being a fantastic physics role model.”

Emma Warwick

Françoise Barré-Sinousi

“French virologist who with her team discovered human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 1983. Her work resulted in tests and antiretroviral drugs being made to stop the deaths of those with AIDS. She travelled around Africa to educate about AIDS prevention.”

Victoria Thompson – Senior Technician (@Hammiehoo)

My mum, Ann Jackson

“She was always enthusiastic about science as I grew up. Mum worked at Glaxo helping develop the measles vaccine. It doesn’t get much more inspirational than that! Then when I was older mum was a school physics tech and often helped me understand concepts that I found hard- never giving me the answer, but helping me find the answer for myself. We still discuss all things science now.”

Fiona Roberts, Senior Science Technician – The Morley Academy

Mary Anning

“She had a difficult life but worked hard to set up her business and support herself through selling the fossils she found. As a woman at that time, she received no public acknowledgement of how much she knew about the fossils and wasn’t eligible to join the geological society. But her name lives on today with her finds being displayed in natural history museums. And films have been made & books have been written about her life.”

Valerie Kerr, Science Technician – Parkside Community College

Caroline Herschel

“She put her life on hold and over came her disabilities to help her brother but made astronomical discoveries in her own right. She became the first woman to be employed by the government and to elected to the Royal Astronomical Society.”

Jo Murphy, Science Technician – Cokethorpe School

Rachel Carson

“Rachel Carson who wrote The Silent Spring”

Nicki – (@ifnickiwas)

Marie Curie

“Marie Curie…. ground breaking for women”

Alcester Academy Science Department


“She discovered Radium and Polonium but she also contributed to discovering treatments for cancer and treatments are still being tried and tested today.”

Denise Ralph (RSciTech), Senior Science Technician – Woolmer Hill School

Maggie Aderin-Pocock

“A tough choice as I have several, but it has to be the fantastic Maggie Aderin-Pocock.”

Sharen Cordy – (@SharenCordy)

Miss Tippett

“I’ve thought hard about this and, honestly, I think for me personally I have to say Miss Tippett. My secondary school teacher and first female scientist role model.”

Katrina Lawrence, Science Technician – University Technical College

Dorothy Hodgkin, Katherine Johnson, Mae Jemison

“So many! Dorothy Hodgkin, Katherine Johnson, Mae Jemison…”


Sarah Gilbert

“The leader of the team that brought us that record-breaking Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. They were able to develop it so quickly because they’d already thought about the technology required to do this.”

Richard Blunt, Chemistry technician – Haileybury

Professor Squawkencluck 

“Permanently exasperated, incredibly bright and dedicated, totally undervalued…. She’s the hero to all science technicians!”

Richard Blunt, Chemistry technician – Haileybury

My Mother

“My mother inspired me. She was a midwife and a district nurse. She loved science, always used to talk about how science is in our everyday life. Whenever she was cooking she used to talk about how lemon is a weak acid and the car battery is a strong one, how yeasts are a eukaryotic single-celled microorganism. She used to go to the villages in Somalia teaching women about family planning and immunisation and the bad effect if their daughters go through FGM.”

Jihan Hassan, Senior Science & Technology Technician – St Mary’s High Church of England

Dorothy Hodgkin

“The only British woman to win a science Nobel prize. She received the medal in 1964 for her pioneering work on the use of what’s known as X-ray crystallography to determine the structures of biological molecules such as penicillin and vitamin B12. This has helped us understand how these substances work and so improve our use of them.”

Stacey Wheeler, Senior Science Technician – Mounts Bay Academy, Penzance