From Neve Spicer, founder and director of WeTheParents.org
Women and girls have been at the forefront of innovation for centuries. Despite this, their level of representation in the STEM fields has often downplayed the significance of female accomplishments in science and engineering. Women have long faced disproportionate barriers to entry, lower pay rates, and discrimination both in education and career opportunities.
Many of today’s leaders in STEM rightly and strongly feel that it’s time to prioritize the many capable women and girls who take interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. During their annual Engineers’ Week, the National Society of Professional Engineers makes the future of women in STEM a priority through their Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day program.
Also called Girl Day, the global campaign, which takes place this February 25, will find STEM professionals, educators, and volunteers working with young women to perform fun and interesting STEM experiments and activities intended to teach important problem solving skills and get (and keep) girls interested in engineering.
These future scientists, engineers, inventors, programmers, and mathematicians will be in good company with their foremothers whose innovations and milestones have shaped the world we live in today.
Some remarkable female achievers in STEM include:
- The creator of the world’s first algorithm, Ada Lovelace, who is also remembered as one of the first computer programmers
- The inventor of a gas-powered central heating system which inspired designs still used today, Alice Parker; Ms. Parker filed her patent as an African-American female inventor predating the Women’s Liberation and Civil Rights movements, a truly remarkable accomplishment for the time
- The second woman, second Jewish person, and first Jewish woman in space, Judy Resnik, who developed custom electronic circuitry for NASA and the U.S. Navy before her death in the Challenger disaster
This year’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day events will be carried out a bit differently due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with many events taking place virtually. To get involved, visit NSPE’s event website.