A Day for Girls and STEM – Vienna’s Daughters Day
On 28 April, over 100 girls between the ages of 11 and 16 attended Daughters Day, or Wiener Töchtertag, at the Vienna International Centre. Daughters Day is a city-wide event organized by the City of Vienna each year to introduce girls to careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). During its 20-year history, Daughters Day has offered more than 50,000 girls the opportunity to explore and consider these critical professions.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) partnered with other Vienna-based international organizations including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to organize a day full of interactive engagement and fun activities pertaining to technical fields.
During the day, the girls learned about an array of subjects such as insect pest control, isotope hydrology, and how to detect a crime involving radioactive material. They also participated in upholstery and metal workshops.
One of several sessions offered by the CTBTO provided an overview of the organization and its work to end nuclear testing. It began with a short quiz aimed at providing background information on nuclear weapons and nuclear testing and ended with arts and crafts, where the girls drew pictures of the organization. The result of this exercise demonstrated the girls’ understanding of the importance of the CTBTO mission with the majority of drawings depicting mushroom clouds and nuclear warhead prohibition signs.
Participants were also encouraged to learn more about and join the CTBTO Youth Group (CYG), a group for students and young professionals, who are dedicated to promoting the CTBT and its verification regime.
During a session hosted by the CTBTO’s International Data Centre (IDC), the girls were given a tour of the Operations Centre where data collected from more than 300 International Monitoring System (IMS) facilities across the globe is sent every day in real time. Another IDC event showcased the different types of data that are collected by IMS stations, such as whale sounds captured by the hydroacoustic network. Participants also learned about the scientific markers that indicate a nuclear test may have occurred.
During the On-Site Inspections (OSI) sessions the girls had fun trying on protective suits and goggles that would be used by OSI field teams when inspecting a potential nuclear test site at the request of a State Party. They also played with some of the devices that would be used in field inspections, such as handheld thermal cameras and radiation detection monitors.
CTBTO Executive Secretary, Dr. Robert Floyd, attended one of the sessions and engaged with the group, encouraging them not to give up on their dreams and to focus on their goals.
Gender equity is essential to addressing and tackling the world’s most pressing challenges today, including banning nuclear testing worldwide, and the CTBTO is committed to the equal and meaningful inclusion of women within the organization to accomplish this goal.
In welcome remarks to the day’s participants, CTBTO’s Director of Knowledge Management and Human Resources, Deepti Choubey, noted the important role that young women can play as future leaders in the fields of disarmament and non-proliferation: “It is going to take us years to fully implement our mission and sustain it, and that is why we care so much that you are all here today because we need you as the next generation of scientists, technologists, diplomats, lawyers, and administrators to help us.”