February 11, 2021

Celebrating the International Day of Women & Girls in Science

Celebrating the International Day of Women & Girls in Science

Today marks the 6th International Day of Women & Girls in Science, and at Zemax, we want to take a moment to recognize all the women and girls who are currently in or working towards a career in the science field. This year’s theme, Women Scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, showcases the important role women play in the research of the virus, as well as the development of vaccines and treatments. It also brings to light the negative impact this global pandemic has on women in the early stages of their career and how new initiatives need to be created to address these issues.

While the global community has made an effort to promote science and gender equality, there is still much work to be done to ensure everyone has a seat at the table. Research shows that women make up only 28% of the workforce in STEM fields, and only 30% of female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. This day drives awareness for not only the accomplishments of women in the science field, but also the work that still needs to be done to create equal opportunities worldwide.

We’ve spoken with female customers and employees to hear what this day means to them:

“Marie Curie was the first woman scientist that I was aware of growing up. As the first woman to win a Nobel prize, she inspired me as I was taking high school physics. I was the only girl in the class.  Later, I became a computer scientist.  I urge young women to learn the sciences and find their own way to make a difference. STEM education must be available to everyone.  I am proud to join the many women scientists here at Zemax”
- Dorothy Pults, Chief Product Marketing Officer, Zemax

“People are more likely to accept what you tell them if you explain technical issues using simple story telling. Don’t be afraid to take on an unfamiliar subject. Learn everything you can about it, and you will become the subject expert.”
- Shu-i Wang, Staff Optical Engineer, Multispectral Solutions, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems Engineering – Central Region

“I have always found myself wanting to understand how things work – from house framing, to interferometers, to the human brain. Using scientific principles and math to figure things out brings me a sense of accomplishment and purpose.”
- Jennifer LeBaron Michels, Optical Engineer, Optimax Systems, Inc.

“Sir Isaac Newton referred to ‘...standing on the shoulders of giants and thus we are able to see more and farther...’. Women in STEM fields like physics are those that believe they can and will, despite what obstacles are around them. Women such as Marie Curie, Maria Goeppert-Mayer, Donna Strickland, and Andrea Ghez have been and continue to be the giants that, as Newton says, "...carry us aloft and elevate our magnitude". 
- Lisa Clauson, Product Manager, Zemax

A more diverse group of scientists will not only increase productivity and innovations through a larger knowledge base and talent pool, but it will also help to address concerns and issues faced by our entire population. It is up to all of us to continue drive awareness of gender equality in science and to encourage women and girls in the field.

Do you know a woman of science you’d like to pay tribute to? Check out the incredible women and girls in science site, hosted by the Optical Society (OSA). Post a tribute yourself to a female scientist whom you would like to recognize. Or just enjoy reading the trailblazing stories of the many women already honored. Visit and submit your tribute here.

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