Written by: Mheliza Madrid
Given the gender gap in the field of STEM, it’s common for women to feel alone in their struggles. May it be due to the lack of female role models or co-workers in the field, this isolation can definitely take its toll. Insecurity and fear can easily take root and manifest in women’s everyday lives. The feeling of inadequacy can creep up, and women may feel that they’re not meant for the field of STEM or even question the worth of their work.
With this, it’s important to be reminded that there are women who have been in that place and through those crises before. These women have also struggled and doubted themselves as they pursued Tech. However, they persisted against all odds. Now, they share their stories and inspire other women to reach out to one another and stand in solidarity.
These are some of their stories.
Dame Stephanie Shirley: Why do ambitious women have flat heads?
“Dame Stephanie Shirley is the most successful tech entrepreneur you never heard of. In the 1960s, she founded a pioneering all-woman software company in the UK, which was ultimately valued at $3 billion, making millionaires of 70 of her team members. In this frank and often hilarious talk, she explains why she went by “Steve,” how she upended the expectations of the time, and shares some sure-fire ways to identify ambitious women…”
Cassidy Williams: Growing up in STEM – as a girl
“Iowa State University Computer Science major Cassidy Williams was often the only girl in the room. She shares her story of pursuing her passion as a model for encouraging women in STEM.”
Reshma Saujani: Teach girls bravery, not perfection
“We’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave, says Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code. Saujani has taken up the charge to socialize young girls to take risks and learn to program — two skills they need to move society forward. To truly innovate, we cannot leave behind half of our population, she says. “I need each of you to tell every young woman you know to be comfortable with imperfection.”
Nathalia Holt: For the Future of Women in Science, Look to the Past
“Nathalia Holt, author of “Rise of the Rocket Girls,” inspires with key lessons from NASA’s female pioneers. Artfully, Dr. Holt translates each historical reference into evidence for modern workplace reform and reiterates a powerful need for female mentorship. The long forgotten success of these frontier women in science transcends their generation, setting forth important lessons about how to recruit and retain women in science today as masterfully as it was done fifty years ago.”
Linda Liukas: A delightful way to teach kids about computers
“Computer code is the next universal language, and its syntax will be limited only by the imaginations of the next generation of programmers. Linda Liukas is helping to educate problem-solving kids, encouraging them to see computers not as mechanical, boring and complicated but as colorful, expressive machines meant to be tinkered with. In this talk, she invites us to imagine a world where the Ada Lovelaces of tomorrow grow up to be optimistic and brave about technology and use it to create a new world that is wonderful, whimsical and a tiny bit weird.”
Debbie Sterling: Inspiring the next generation of female engineers
“Close your eyes and picture and engineer. You probably weren’t envisioning Debbie Sterling. Debbie Sterling is an engineer and founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers. She has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math.”