A couple years ago, there was this new tech blossoming in the consumer market: 3D printing. I’ll be transparently honest, I didn’t really understand what it was at first. I didn’t understand it’s capabilities and value. Then, one day, I was browsing the internets while on a break (read: bored) at work, and I came across this initiative through Google called “Made with Code.” It featured the non-profit Girls Who Code. This neat little project encouraged people, mainly girls, to understand programming and coding and fostered that through offering a free 3D printed bracelet, designed on the spot through their coding web app.
Now, being a geek, a mother of two strong girls, and a lover of any free jewelry, I went for it and created my own little 3D printed bracelet. It took about five minutes, and three weeks shipping, but I finally got it. With it came my realization of how a small nonprofit could affect change in the lives of blossoming female scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.
If you’ve lived under a rock the past year, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. While that sounds gender-neutral, the push behind the acronym is largely feminist. Don’t be scared. I mean the nice, gentle, let’s-all-be-friends kind of feminist. The idea is to foster an appreciation and passion in the minds of the next generation of women in these industries. With it comes the push for industries to welcome these women and accept them as equals in the fields.
Enough kumbayah for you? Wait, there’s more! This excites me because one of my daughters is a hardcore science geek. She loves every type of science she finds especially biology, astronomy, and meteorology. So, it’s pretty fantastic to know that she has all these opportunities opening up in her future because of this current drive to level the playing field. The opportunities seem to grow daily.
I’ve already mentioned the non-profit, Girls Who Code, that helps inspire women through the world of coding and programming. According to the mission statement on their website, they hope to promote women in computer science and assist one million girls in getting that education by the year 2020.
The White House has its own initiative. #WomeninSTEM is all about broadening the scope of women’s understanding and using their perspectives to expand the discovery and innovation of the STEM fields.
Finally, we have the TUNE House. TUNE House is a communal living project for female students studying STEM at the University of Washington. The hope is to create a network of support, a community of like-minded women, to help the culture grow, and grow with strength.
The bottom line is that women rock the STEM world, both then and now. Marie Curie used her education in chemistry and physics to expand the world’s knowledge of radioactivity and became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. Hedy Lamarr was a film actress from the golden age of Hollywood, but also became an accomplished inventor. During WWII, she worked with radio frequencies to assist in finding a way to keep Allied stations from being jammed by the enemy. Her work is directly linked to WiFi and Bluetooth technologies.
Keep researching. The presence of women in STEM fields is astounding, and yet there’s still so much more growth to be had.