News & Achievements

Stellar women – astronomers with the XX factor

Women are woefully under-represented in professional astronomy. Working with the Roseland Observatory, Truro High School is trying to redress the gender imbalance.

The most recent event the school organised was aimed at making pupils aware of the opportunities for women considering a career or future study in astronomy.

The guest speaker was science communicator, Anita Heward, who has fifteen years’ experience promoting space and astronomy research for organisations including Europlanet, the Royal Astronomical Society and the Twinkle space mission.

Anita presented a lightning overview of women in this fascinating scientific field, past and present. She told stories about the challenges women have faced and the important contributions they have made to astronomical research from as long ago as the fourth century AD to the rising stars of astronomy today.

She concluded by saying: “Only 25% of astronomers are female – although the overall trend is increasing with a solidly improving percentage of women at the top of the profession.

“However, you should all remember that just because you study astronomy it doesn’t mean you have to be an astronomer, you can use the qualification for lots of other exciting positions.”

Truro High School already offers astronomy as a GCSE, which pupils are able to study for and complete in Year 9. Year 10 Lowenna Penny was the first pupil to take this subject as an extra-curricular activity last year with phenomenal success achieving a Grade A.

“The purpose of this evening was to inspire young women with an interest in science and enlighten them about careers they may not realise are available to them. I think Anita got the message across in an interesting and entertaining way,” said High School Head of Science, Jon Dean.

Published by: Grace Kennard
Categorised in: News

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