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7 February 2020
Soapbox Science 2020: Women Scientists, Share Your Stories!

(Published - 7 February 2020}

Historically, women have been underrepresented in the sciences, and especially in the *story* of science - most people would have a hard time naming even five great female scientists. Today women are still the minority in science - but the situation is improving every day, with many more women doing world-changing research all over the world. Soapbox Science 2020 aims to highlight some of that work.

The SA team is looking for speakers for this year’s event and the closing date is Friday, 2 March 2020 at 11am.

“Everyone needs a vision of what they want to be like when they grow up - so it’s essential for young women to see all the limitless possibilities that STEM has to offer,” explains Dr Lucia Marchetti, SARChI Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the University of Cape Town, and coordinator of the South African Soapbox Science local organising team. “Science and its findings should be available to everyone, and I am glad that Soapbox Science can contribute to make it even more accessible.”

Soapbox Science is a well-established international initiative promoting women in science and their research. The main goal is offering the public an opportunity to meet and interact with female scientists in places one wouldn’t normally expect (a shopping mall, for instance) - thus increasing the visibility of women in science.

“Science is amazing. Scientists are always developing new ideas, testing them, making discoveries, changing the world,” says UWC’s Dr Natasha Ross, photovoltaic chemistry researcher - and Soapbox Science 2019 speaker. “And it’s fun as well, and the more people who know that, the more people we can inspire to tackle some of our world’s biggest challenges.”


Soapbox Science takes women scientists out of the lab and onto the streets to talk to the passing public about science - while placing the spotlight on successful female scientists. The format of the event promotes direct engagement. No PowerPoint slides, no amphitheatre – just remarkable women in science who are there to amaze the public with their work, and to answer those science-related questions people have been burning to ask.

To apply click on: Friday, 2 March 2020 at 11am (GMT).

Soapbox Science: What’s In It For Me?

After the call is closed the local organising committee, together with the Soapbox Science central UK office, will review the applications and select a maximum of 12 speakers for the day. Scientists from all fields are welcome to apply, as long as you’re doing your PhD, post-doc or more - what matters most is the story they have to tell, and their passion for telling it.

Why should you apply to be a Soapbox Science speaker? Well, if you do, you’ll get to:

  • Talk science better: selected speakers will receive training in public speaking and science communication;
  • Make valuable connections with other fantastic scientists, joining the Soapbox alumni community of over 1,000 inspirational speakers; and,
  • Publicise your work through blogs, social media and other media opportunities.

And of course, you’ll also get to learn from your fellow speakers, and engage in science talk with people who might not otherwise do so - and if you love your science (and we know you do), that’s all the reward you need.


Children's health, marine ecosystems, the brain, and the study of the universe - these are just a few of the fascinating subjects Soapbox Science speakers cover. It’s a chance for the public to hear about cutting-edge research directly from some of South Africa’s finest women in science.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to engage with people who might not otherwise encounter science,” Dr Ross enthuses. “I was thrilled and grateful to have been selected, and I learned a lot from the talks I attended as well - and I’m excited to see what my fellow female scientists will be sharing this time around.”

Want to know more? Just visit the website and/or contact the SA Local Coordinator (Dr. Lucia Marchetti - UCT/UWC - for more details. Remember, Soapbox Science is a free event