We’re excited to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 Feb 2020), a community I passionately support. I have the honour of working with so many innovative, intelligent and driven women across a number of extract-involved industries, but the stats tell a story of the inequality that exists in the field of science:
- Less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women
- 30% of female students select STEM-related fields in higher education
- Only 5% of students enrolling in natural science, mathematics and statistics are women
WHAT CAN WE DO to inspire our girls to take interest in these fields when they have so much to contribute? I think of what my grandmother did for me. She gave me this book, “Homemade Lotions & Potions” when I was 11 years old and it spiked my interest in formulating and creating cosmetic ingredients.
"I still remember boiling ice in a saucepan at home and crying because I knew I was witnessing the particle theory and not just boiling another pot of water." - Lisa Carroll, Native Extracts Director & Innovator
I enrolled in university to pursue science and mathematics because I wanted to know more about the world I couldn’t see. The kitchen was my first lab then it was the shed out back, and my friends were my research participants. But no matter where my research has taken me, nature has always been my true inspiration. I grew up on the northern beaches in Sydney before it was the tourist destination it is now, surrounded by bush, flowers and fruits. That’s why I believe that getting our girls outside and encouraging them to adventure and be curious is one of the best things we can do to nurture their relationship with nature, and thus science.
I fell in love with all of the leaves, flowers and fruits I picked. To me growing up, Nature was Science and Science was Nature. They were one in the same. As I grew to understand the compounds that make these plants so powerful, I discovered biomimicry and continued down a never-ending pursuit to better understand and share the science of our plant-world.
Every day in the Native Extracts lab we learn something new and we are excited to see our work build a library of plant profiles that didn’t exist before, to share them with brands and formulators that create magic with nature’s brilliant design. Our work has also created new possibilities for; growers to value-add and extend their crop offerings; Indigenous communities to create new enterprises; and brands to deliver products that have ingredients that are “True to Nature”.
And, that’s my story of falling for science and how every day I wake up grateful for the women who have inspired me, and excited by tomorrow’s discoveries! Is there a story, mentor or experience that has inspired you?