Women in STEM. Wow. Where to begin?

Firstly, I’d like to say a huge thank you for being featured amongst such inspiring and driven women. It is an honour to learn from and follow in these great footsteps.

We have a job of uttermost importance, together we must ‘normalise’ the interaction of both genders within the professional field. It can be easy to forget, how different the roles of participation would be, looking back only a few decades.

In retrospect, gender wasn’t a huge issue in my household – being raised by a single father allowed for an insight into the role our male counterparts adopt. Necessity taught us that, whether male or female, tasks must be completed regardless.

I believe the lack of gender-specific roles brought – as every situation does – positives and negatives. For example, I was somewhat unaware of the disparity between sexes and would not think twice about putting myself forward for a male-orientated position; revelling in the audaciousness of it at times. On the flipside, while travelling and studying in patriarchal societies, this ‘insolence’ – as it was viewed – could be extremely debilitating, resulting in overlooked opportunities.

Aside from equality and recognition, one aspect I feel extremely passionate about, is providing relevant and inspiring role-models for young females today. There is a resounding lack of intelligent, professional females from the scientific community, acknowledged in popular culture. We have a plethora of entertainers, models and fashionistas thrust into the limelight; why do we elevate others for good genes, alluring clothing choices or immaculately applied make-up? Why don’t we celebrate the efforts and achievements, many women have tirelessly worked and studied for?

My life’s goal

My journey, though always strongly nature or plant-based, has drawn from both male and female influences. I am as happy mixing up a blended plant oil for massage therapy, as I am breaking out the chainsaw to remove a diseased or non-native tree.  I have been lucky enough to participate in various nature-based teachings; western conservation, horticulture & aromatics; eastern holistic medical and lifestyle practices and am currently rounding all together by completing a BSc degree in Environmental Science. If I can open the mind of one, just one, individual to the wonder and importance of the plantae kingdom; or encourage one child to pursue a life in this field – I will have achieved my goal. We must all become or create the tendrils that reach out farther.

Personally, I feel studying and applying oneself is the most empowering decision a young adult can make. This path of knowledge and education should not be tainted by gender specific thoughts or fears. I look forward to a world where intelligence is as highly prized as youth or beauty.

Written by: Chiara Lucia

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