Ladies Who Tech推出了我们的全新系列访谈——探月计划，本期系列访谈将带领大家聚焦海外的女性STEM领袖。通过讨论STEM领域的性别差距、攻读STEM学科的女性之稀缺以及隐形的入门阻碍等话题，我们希望能从她们的经历中学习，并在这些问题上获得更多全球视角，思索我们在国内应当如何解决它们。
Ladies Who Tech is beyond excited to launch our new interview series, "Moonshot", that'll put the spotlight on our female STEM leaders outside of China. Through our conversations about the gender gap in STEM, the lack of girls pursuing STEM subjects, the invisible barriers to entry and many more, we hope to learn from their experiences, gain a more global perspective on the matter and understand how we can tackle the problem at home.
Our first guest is the amazing Emily Calandrelli, who is an American science communicator, MIT engineer, author, Emmy-nominated TV host, and above all, a huge advocate for connecting young girls to the world of science.
“我们不想要女主持人” “We don't want female hosts”
Emily 告诉 Ladies Who Tech：“在有一次制作人会议上，电视台的高管说：‘我们台的观众主要都是男性，所以不知道女主持人是否能引起他们的共鸣。’”
“In one production meeting, the TV executives said, 'Our audience is primarily male, so we don't know if they would relate well to a female host',” Emily told Ladies Who Tech.
Then they asked her if she had a boyfriend who could co-host with her.
“I remember thinking, ‘Ugh, that's really uncomfortable feedback’,” she said.
“It’s interesting because under any work situation – for example in an office – to say that sentence out loud would be entirely inappropriate. But when they say it's for the sake of ‘marketing’ and ‘viewership’, then it's allowed. So, if you look at the hosts of these science programs, they all look remarkably similar: They’re all men,” she added.
Luckily, Emily didn't give up. When she finally attended a meeting with Netflix, they were immediately on board with Emily's Wonder Lab, a 10-part science show that features children scientists conducting their own experiments with slime, eggs, fluorescent paint, rainbow foam, solar microwaves and many more, all packaged in a fun, easily digestible format.
在每一集节目中不断鼓舞着年轻女孩们 Inspiring young girls, one episode at a time
这正是Emily希望通过她的节目和儿童系列丛书《Ada Lace历险记》解决的STEM领域的一大痛点。《Ada Lace历险记》讲述了三年级小朋友Ada Lace在科技世界的奇遇。
Emily's Wonder Lab was an experiment itself, as the program is Netflix's first live-action style show produced for their kids’ division.
“We're not sure if it’ll catch on, but Netflix was very excited about the concept of a science program for kids and that the host, me, would have a background in science. So, everything I was doing on the show is absolutely authentic,” said Emily from her home in San Jose, California.
On the cusp of realizing her dream, she also decided to film the entire season last year while almost nine months pregnant.
Emily's husband, Tom Franklin, who is also an MIT graduate and aerospace engineer, flew to Los Angeles with her for the duration of filming in case the baby came early.
“I actually expected Netflix to reject my pitch, especially when I told them I was pregnant, but they still agreed to do the show – I can almost hear all these stereotypes breaking in front of me – and now there's a heavily pregnant lady on Netflix teaching kids about science, and that's very, very cool!” she said.
“There were definitely days during filming where I felt super pregnant, but the adrenaline just took over and masked any discomfort. This is the first Netflix show of my own and this is my dream. I'm so grateful for this opportunity and nothing is going to hold me back,” she added.
Emily's Wonder Lab was a HUGE success. Ever since the show's premiere in August, Emily's inbox has been flooded with hundreds of messages every day from grateful parents who were so happy to see their children continuing to learn at home during the pandemic.
“Parents are telling me that their kids are hypothesizing about everything and arriving at conclusions through the scientific method – and that's the best thing I could hope for,” she said.
“I love seeing children who have watched the show take the principles that they learned – from creating a hypothesis, asking good questions to practicing trial-and-error – and applying them to problems they see in the world,” she said. “More importantly, I hope they learn that it's okay to fail.”
“I've had parents tell me that their children – both boys and girls – never knew what they wanted to grow up to be until they watched the show. Now, they want to become scientists!” Emily said, brimming with pride.
This is actually a pain point in the STEM field that Emily hopes to help solve through her show and her children's book series, The Ada Lace Adventures, which follows 3rd grader Ada Lace's journey in the world of science and technology.
“When they are much younger, children of all genders are always so excited about science,” she explained. “But at a certain point, girls would get the idea that science isn't for them.
Girls appear to lose interest in STEM subjects with age, and lower levels of participation are already seen in advanced studies at secondary level. By higher education, women represent only 35 per cent of all students enrolled in STEM-related fields of study, UNESCO reported.
Apart from a lack of representation, girls are often brought up to believe that STEM topics are "masculine" and that female ability in this field is innately inferior to that of males. This can undermine girls' confidence, interest and willingness to engage in STEM subjects, the report added.
“To change the demographic of who ends up in STEM, you have to start at a young age. So, I'm targeting girls at that age group and hoping to provide some representation for them. I'm showing them that it's totally normal for a girl to love and work in science,” Emily said.
阻挡女性进入科学领域的三座大山 The three big barriers for women going into science
“有。我们就在这儿，我们无处不在。并非我们没有像 Bill Nye（偶像级美国科普工作者）一样伟大的女性科学家，而是我们没有得到同样的机会、曝光或者平台。对有色人种女性科学家来说更是难上加难。”Emily说道。在她的个人网站上，她罗列了一串长长的名字，她们都是在STEM领域中做出卓越贡献的女性。
However, even if these girls do decide to pursue a STEM subject in university, they don't stay in the field for long after graduation.
“As we get older, there are fewer women who remain in the science field,” Emily said, describing the “leaky pipeline” phenomenon.
The “leaky pipeline” metaphor refers to the drastic loss of female workers in a variety of disciplines, most prevalently in the fields of STEM. These “leaks” have been identified at various career stages, including the bachelor’s-to-PhD pipeline, and at the academic employment stages of selection, promotion and retention, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association. According to UNESCO, just 30 per cent of the world's researchers are women.
Women bring vital life experiences and unique perspectives to research questions, methodology and interpretation of data, and research conclusions and its resulting technology affect all genders of the human race. The exodus of women out of the STEM pipeline has dire impacts on scientific advancement as a whole — especially in today's increasingly globalized and technology-driven society.
The reasons for the attrition of women in science are multifaceted, but Emily believes it all comes down to lack of representation, lack of paid parental leave systems and women falling victims to sexual harassment.
One question that she's been asked over and over again is: “Where are the female scientists?”
“Oh we're here. We're everywhere. It's not that these female versions of Bill Nye (iconic American science communicator) don't exist, it's because we don't get the same opportunities, exposure, or platforms as our male peers. This is even more true for women of colour,” Emily said. On her website, she has also compiled an extensive list of women in STEM who are making amazing contributions in the field.
“Like STEM, Hollywood is an old boys' network, and these executives tend to hire people that are like them, which in turn induces an overwhelmingly large male viewership. This pattern could stop if major networks decide to have more females host their shows instead,” she said.
A recent study of American STEM workers over an eight-year period showed that an alarming 43 per cent of women left their full-time jobs after having their first child. They either went part-time, switched to non-STEM careers or left the workforce altogether.
The US is the only OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) country without a national statutory paid maternity, paternity or parental leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) enables some employees to take up to 12 weeks unpaid maternity leave but only 60 per cent of workers are eligible.
“It's embarrassing, really. Policies on family leave should send the message that having children is expected and accepted,” Emily said.
At the same time, a 2015 report by The Atlantic found that sexual harassment at US universities persists, with one in three women science professors surveyed reported being a target of sexual harassment.
“We've got to take this issue more seriously and have clear, legal ramifications when it happens. Women aren'se companies we work for wouldn't protect us,” Emily said.
“艾米丽神奇实验室”效应 The Emily's-Wonder-Lab Effect
Emily hopes the success of Emily's Wonder Lab could prompt TV networks all over the world to produce more STEM-related content for children.
In China's R&D sector, the number of workers swelled from 3.2 million in 2009 to 5.8 million in 2016 as the country rapidly expands its technological capabilities, highlighting a demand for more female scientists, according to science journal Nature. Currently, women make up only about one-quarter of this workforce.
“Shows like this help inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers – and these people help the advancement of their countries,” Emily said, adding that she was actually the first person in her family to pursue a STEM degree.
“This show has already inspired so many kids to dedicate their lives to science and technology. We’ll be able to see that impact in 10 to 15 years when they go to college and in 20 years when they start contributing to the workforce,” she said.
For her own daughter, who just turned one year old, Emily just wants a future for her where these barriers would no longer exist, where she would feel empowered to choose any career path she wants.
“She can be anything she wants – but obviously I would love it if she were a scientist!” Emily laughed.
Right now, she's focusing all her energy on getting a Season 2 for Emily's Wonder Lab.
“I believe in this show so much. I think it's genuinely creating real change and inspiring so many people. I know kids who have binged watched it three times straight. I have a whole library of science experiments to pitch for the show,” she said.
“Emily's Wonder Lab may be kid-focused, but its impact extends beyond that age group,” she added. “It isn't just good for learning about science, it's also changing the perception of who is welcome in the world of science.”
Ladies Who Tech相信教育是赋权女性的驱动力，也是女性未来成功的基础。我们希望，通过研讨会、年度大会与各种活动将妇女纳入STEM话题中，企业与组织将受到鼓舞进而制定更多包括妇女与母亲在内的变革政策。快来加入我们的社群吧！
At Ladies Who Tech, we believe education is an engine to women's empowerment and the foundation for a future of success. We hope that through connecting women in STEM through workshops, conventions and events, companies and organizations will leave inspired to enact changes that are more inclusive of women and mothers. Come join our community!