This Blog is part of our “Get to Know Our Ambassadors” Series. Each week, we’ll highlight a new Ambassador to help students understand more about the diversity of people and research projects available to students.
Although women have made important contributions to science throughout history, we often do not talk about those discoveries as much as we talk about the discoveries made by men. I think this could be because the environments we have created in society make it harder for women to succeed. Let me explain what I mean.
As a researcher, I am studying how to make school children more physically active so that they can be more healthy. Schools are an important venue to increase the physical activity of children as children spend most of their day in schools. The problem is that existing school-based physical activity programs are more effective for boys than they are for girls. This means that girls are not necessarily getting the stimulation they need at school. The goal of my PhD research is to explore what kind of changes we need to make within the school setting to make school programs equally effective for girls and boys.
I think this is important because without diversity in science, we would be missing unique perspectives on problems. For example, did you know that Mary Ainsworth – a Developmental Psychologist – made groundbreaking contributions in the research on attachment styles? She highlighted the importance of mother-child interactions and how strangers affect children’s behaviour. If it wasn’t for women, we would still be thinking that children can get attached with anyone including strangers!
Talking about research, some biases aren’t a big deal. But sometimes, those biases can become a problem. For example, a lot of people think that girls are better at writing and reading, and boys are better at maths – even though this isn’t true at all as both boys and girls are equally good at all those tasks! But the problem is that this perceived bias could lead boys and girls towards doing specific courses in school, even resulting in very different careers. For example, not studying science and choosing to stay at home rather than work in a science career. That’s why I’m excited to be paired with the Arludo game Psych Tests. In Psych Tests, students are able to explore how simple things can affect their innate biases. Through this game, students can explore the ideas of internal biases with me to get a better idea about them, so that they can learn how to overcome them.
I really think that this is especially important as this will help us create a better world where everyone gets an equal chance to follow a career path that they love. And most importantly, we at Arludo think that this will help create a world where diverse people can use their diverse backgrounds to provide new perspectives to help us solve the problems we face in society.
I look forward to exploring these ideas with your class!