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Online visit to NSYSU’s laboratories for female high school students


To celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11th, National Sun Yat-sen University has recently organized an online visit to laboratories on campus for about 500 female students of nearly 45 high schools, bringing the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines closer to them, and thus boosting their motivation and confidence to learn STEM and to become future international technology talents.

This activity included a visit to the Semiconductor Nano Device & TFT Display Lab led by Chair Professor Ting-Chang Chang of the Department of Physics, the Rapid Screening Research Center for Toxicology and Biomedicine led by Chair Professor Jentaie Shiea of the Department of Chemistry, the Aquatic Ecotoxicology Lab led by Professor Meng-Hsien Chen of the Department of Oceanography, and the Laboratory of NanoBiomaterials Application led by Associate Professor Hung-Wei Yang of the Institute of Medical Science and Technology. It aimed to encourage students to choose a career in scientific research and to become professionals in different fields of science and technology.

The Coordinator of the Gender in Science and Technology project of the Ministry of Science and Technology, NSYSU Senior Vice President and Distinguished Professor of the Department of Physics, Shiow-Fon Tsay, pointed out that only around 30% of girls in higher education choose to study science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. According to global statistics, the ratio of female candidates’ admission to programs in information and communication technologies is particularly low – only 3%; in natural sciences, mathematics, and statistics – around 5%, and in engineering, manufacturing, and architecture, the ratio is about 8%. In the United States, though nearly 60% of university graduates are girls, only a little above 20% of graduates majoring in physics and mechanics are female. The ratio of girls graduating in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is still very low, and so is the ratio of women working in these fields.

“Whether in Taiwan or abroad, many people have a stereotype that ‘science is a masculine career,’ and they associate humanities with women and maths with men.” Senior Vice President Shiow-Fon Tsay said that according to the statistics of Taiwan’s Ministry of Education, women already account for 50% of university students; however, in engineering, natural sciences (physics, chemistry, and earth sciences), mathematics, statistics, and information and communications, less than 40% of students are female; for engineering, the percentage is even lower than 20%, and for information and communications, the percentage is decreasing every year. Although the ratio of women graduating in STEM fields has been increasing each year in the last decade, it is still lower than 25%. Professor Tsay emphasized that encouraging female students to enter the field of science and technology and bridging the gender gap in STEM fields as soon as possible will help open up and expand basic and applied sciences, as well as boost the growth of the global economy and construction.
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