Katie Paul and Justine Benanty, founders of ArchaeoVentures, launch today a weekly online video series to advance women in science beyond the stereotypes to feature lively dialogue on current scientific archeological research both in the ground and underwater and in environments with increasingly global political, humanitarian, and environmental challenges.
An Anthropologist and Archaeologist, Paul, is an expert in the area of the Middle East/North Africa region (MENA) and is currently the Director of Research at The Antiquities Coalition in Washington, DC.
Benanty, a Maritime Archaeologist, is currently researching a slave ship wreck by South Africa for the Slave Wrecks Project and is strong advocate for the protection of cultural heritage both in the ground and underwater for The Antiquities Coalition. Benanty also volunteers with the Youth Diving for a Purpose, a maritime archaeology camp with the National Park Service.
Experiencing first hand the challenges for women in scientific studies, Paul and Benanty coined the term “#ArchaeoActivism” to advocate for women and ‘real world’ archaeology within the accompanying complex political and humanitarian environments.
How quickly we forget the accomplishments of women in science. Perhaps the first woman in medicine and possibly was Merit Ptah of ancient Egypt followed by Agamede, an ancient Greek physician mentioned by Homer. Women have been award the Nobel Prize in Physics, Chemistry and Medicine. Yet, according to the National Science Foundation, women are still not fully represented in scientific professions (or STEM) as opposed to more traditional roles of teaching, nursing and health technicians. The global gender gap in science requires attention. According to statistics culled by ArchaeoVentures, six in 10 Bachelor degrees are earned by women and many women start higher education yet many leave the field early often due to lack of role models and mentors.
In the 21st century, who are the forward thinking role models and mentors for the next generation?
Paul and Benanty, through the ArchaeoVentures film series, are offering just that – role models who are out front, have achieved academic excellence, are doing what they are passionate about and in their own style.
When asked “why is this important?”, Paul responds with,
“There are so many organizations and programs promoting girls in science, but there still remains a void in the number of female scientists that are represented in the public. Many of the obstacles faced by women, as well as minorities, in the STEM fields are often what contributes to these individuals being underrepresented in these professions. There are stereotypes of who can be a scientist, or an engineer, or an archaeologist – even try googling one of those jobs and your screen will be dominated with images of men in lab coats, or construction helmets, or khaki clothes and a fedora. We wanted to help shake up these stereotypes and just bring science and the people that make it great to the public in a new way.” –
Benanty follows with,
“We want to bring the public a different perspective on science and history, which is important. But we really want to help influence the next generation. Something seriously lacking in the academic community is an investment in widespread pubic knowledge of these disciplines for the next generation. We really admire the programs and people that are reaching outside of their own disciplines to help spread this awareness about science and the global environment. We want to do our part and contribute to bringing awareness to the future 21st century scientists.”
Two women with an education, a shovel, scuba gear, curiosity, and new media technology are demonstrating that “anyone can help take steps to change our world – and that being a badass in science, just requires passion, imagination, and a taste for adventure!” Watch and follow Paul and Benanty as they change the world of science, archaeology and advocacy through innovation.
Which young woman will pick up the challenge and become the next innovator and leader in the field of science?
By Keri Douglas, writer/photographer, Washington, DC. Copyright Protected 2014. All Rights Reserved.
Learn more at http://www.ArchaeoVentures.com.