ICE | The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer | Issue 8

28 The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer Issue 8 · November 2021 · Kislev 5782 Report inspiration for me. You are the future of the world. I salute you, and I will continue to support this important event.” Advancing Women in STEM at the Zuckerman STEM Program [20] The Zuckerman STEM Program leads the way in advancing women in STEM in academic institutions. 64% of the 20202021 Zuckerman Scholars are women. Each Zuckerman female scholar is making an impact in her field, creating a larger group of her peers and making it easier for other women to be accepted as faculty members. 3. Personal perspective My research can be described as a spiral procedure, referring to the diverse facets of chemistry education, which are largely integrated with one another. The findings on student learning and motivation guided (and guide) me in designing and revising curriculummaterials and professional development (PD) programs for chemistry teachers, since they are the key to the success of their students, implementation of new curricular materials, and reforms in education. Therefore, I always put a lot of emphasis on research regarding chemistry teachers’ professional development. I myself was a chemistry teacher for 26 years, part of them – parallel to my work at the Weizmann Institute. My acquaintance with the education system helped me in planning and conducting professional development programs in cooperation with science educators in Israel and abroad. I felt the importance of stressing the point of education through science / chemistry, and not just teaching or learning chemistry. It gave me a huge satisfaction to work with teachers from all over the world, and to try to influence their attitudes towards the way in which chemistry should be taught, as well as their motivation to perform changes in their teaching strategies, e.g., planning lessons in which every individual student will be able to express themselves, and get the opportunity to understand chemistry. My experience over the years convinced me that loving my profession, and believing in what I am doing, are the main components to success. The passion to research a domain in which I am involved with my mind and with my soul, kept me moving on even when I faced difficulties. Science education research in general, and chemistry education in particular, are composed of many different aspects: curriculum, teachers, students, policy makers, etc. It is always recommended to focus on not too many aspects. However, a researcher should be acquainted with the other components. The process may be full of handicaps! I myself faced quite a lot of challenges, including personal family constraints. However, I was persistent, loved my research and my practical work, developed self-efficacy, and believed in my ability to make a change. 4. Summary Despite marked advances towards gender equality and empowerment of women, especially during the last century, progress has been slowand disparities persist around the world. Unfortunately, science is not immune to such inequalities, with women representing only a third of researchers globally and often facing gender-based discrimination and a lack of equal opportunities. In order to change the situation, it is necessary to act on both the educational and economic level [21]. Barnard et al. [22] suggest that women have to be able to adopt strategies of survival, and conform to their environment. Otherwise, they may be isolated, accept lower paying positions. They suggest creating social networking groups in order to support women with becoming accepted into the science community. In addition, women should promote themselves and their research on a broader spectrum, and enhance their collaboration and informal mentorship. At the educational level, there should be a change in the belief that having a family clashes withmaking a career, as suggested by Wolfensberger [23]. There must also be a significant change in attitude regarding the responsibility for the family members. The educational process should begin from an early age in order to encourage women who decide to combine family life and a scientific career. Women who succeed in this process, and who get support from their families, may serve as a role model to other women. Moreover, supporting young women scientists in their career development is crucial at both professional, economic, and personal levels. The Nordic countries may serve as prime examples for family policy aimed at a gender-equal division of economic responsibility, and focusing on fathers’ participation in childcare [24]. In summary, the gender gap is a problem of society (women and men). Reducing the gender gap is a major challenge for the whole scientific community, in developed as well as developing countries, and concerns everyone, men and women. The International Science Council (ISC) funded a unique three-year project in 2017–2019 called, “A Global Approach to the Gender Gap in Mathematical, Computing and Natural Sciences: How to measure it, how to reduce it?” that has provided a wide-ranging view of the issues women face in the sciences and how these issues may be overcome [25]. As mentioned above by Chiu and Ceca [7], the survey led to several recommendations, which may be summarized as: (1) We should actively promote gender balance at every