Azadeh Shirzadi

Secondary Teacher – Ontario Science Centre Science School (on secondment from the TDSB)


Making a STEMneutral future, today.

Women are grossly underrepresented in the upper echelons of STEM. Globally, women have achieved parity up to the Masters level; however, there is a leaky pipeline beyond. THIS MUST CHANGE. The global challenges we face, need as many unique perspectives as possible to identify key problems and innovate solutions, otherwise we all lose out.

Surprisingly, students often wrongly believe that gender parity has been fully actualized. The STEMneutral workshop was created to help students see the problem and offer solutions to neutralize the STEM playing field for all.

Findings from various journal articles are combined into engaging activities and videos which expose the systemic problems faced by women and minorities in STEM. By examining gender-role stereotyping, bias, and learning assertiveness strategies, students gain tools that will give them a better chance at navigating the leaky pipeline of their STEM careers.

In this session, I will run through the main activities from the student workshop, highlighting relevant studies, and discussing feedback from students and educators.


I am an educator by heart and by trade who teaches to inspire in others a sense of awe, an insatiable curiosity and wonder about the beauty and magic of scientific play, discovery and solution-building. I believe greater social equity can be achieved if students are taught to think critically about the ever-changing world around them and to challenge the status quo.

My STEMneutral workshop is designed to empower students to examine and challenge cultural conditioning and implicit bias, with the aim of neutralizing the STEM playing field for all.