Establishing Equality for Women in STEM

By Neve Spicer, Guest Blogger

Throughout history, there have been been no shortage of inventions and innovations created by women. In fact, many female-created patents and technologies went on to significantly change and better our world. Despite this, the percentage of women involved in STEM education and employment has been and remains disproportionately low.

Historically, this has in many cases been a reflection of discriminatory attitudes which devalued female contributions, leading to low pay and difficult working environments. Modern STEM culture has wisely made significant moves to try to right the underrepresentation of both women and minorities in science, technology, and engineering fields, including the creation of Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.

Taking place this February 25th, Girl Day is part of the National Society of Professional Engineers’ annual Engineers’ Week. The worldwide campaign aims to provide fun-filled and educational STEM activities for young women, teaching them valuable problem solving abilities and fostering their existing interest in STEM.

They’ll be following a trail blazed by some truly remarkable women, including:

  • Hedy Lamarr: A legendary beauty and actress of stage and screen, this brilliant Austrian inventor developed frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology which was used to jam Nazi torpedoes during World War II. This same technology was used to develop today’s wireless Internet, or Wi-Fi.
  • Nora Stanton Barney: Born in 1883, this intrepid Englishwoman was both the first female engineering graduate of Cornell University and the first woman member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • Beulah Louise Henry: Driven by the desire to simplify and improve existing processes, this North Carolina native developed a total of 49 patents and 110 intentions designed to aid daily home life; she remained employed as an inventor and consultant and founded two manufacturing companies.

Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, many activities for this year’s Girl Day will be taking place virtually, so be sure to head over to the NSPE website to find details and get involved.

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