On the 8th of March we celebrate International Women’s Day – where we reflect on the achievements of women and gender equality. The theme for 2021 is ‘Choose To Challenge’. The campaign website explains this theme as:
“We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.”
So to contribute to the conversation this year, we’ve decided to put together a blog post to celebrate some inspiring women in STEM around the world – highlighting some of the great things five women are contributing currently to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and some of whom are also involved in raising up other young women to do the same.
Why is it important to encourage more women into STEM roles?
These fields have such a huge impact on all areas of society, it is important that the people we have within these fields are as diverse and as representative of the population as possible. Whilst huge progress has been made, and there are many important historical figures within these areas who are women, there is still much work to be done to encourage women and girls into STEM and ensure that opportunities are equal.
The Tech She Can Charter is a fantastic initiative that works with organisations for the cause. A research study by PwC has shown that only 27% of women vs 62% of men would consider a career in tech and only 3% of females have it as their first choice. Only 16% of females compared to 33% of males have had a career in tech suggested to them. From these figures it is clear that work still needs to be done!
Inspiring women in STEM
Here are just a handful of women who are in STEM roles and are inspiring and helping many other women to do the same!
Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE – STEMettes
Now aged 31, Anne-Marie Imafidon has been making waves since founding social enterprise STEMettes in 2013 (aged 23). STEMettes aims to inspire and increase the numbers of young women going into STEM. A child prodigy, she became the youngest woman with a Master’s degree (Mathematics and Computer Science) aged just 19 years old! After a brief career working for investment banks and technology companies she set up STEMettes and now runs panel sessions and hackathons to support girls and young women who are interested in a STEM career. It’s no wonder why she was the first person we thought of for this post – she’s a lady who lifts up other women for a living!
Kriti Sharma – AI for Good
Alongside her role as vice-president of product for GfK market research, Kriti Sharma founded AI for Good in 2018. AI for Good is a tech company focussed on developing ethical AI technology. It’s aim is to help 100 million vulnerable and disadvantaged people, working in partnership with charities and NGO’s to help address their needs through technology. Amongst her other amazing achievements, she also advises the United Nations! Another lady who is changing the world for the better!
Trudy Norris-Grey – Chair of WISE
WISE (Women into Science and Engineering) is a campaign that encourages women and girls to pursue STEM education and careers. Trudy Norris-Grey, born in Wales, has been the chair of WISE since 2011. Before becoming chair at WISE, she was chair of UKRC which specialised in gender equality in science, engineering and technology, becoming part of WISE in 2011 bringing Trudy Norris-Grey to the campaign. She has enjoyed a long career since her first job in accounting and is passionate about helping other women do the same. In an interview for BCS she said:
“I’ve had a great time along the way, I’ve worked with some excellent people and I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy a very satisfying and well-rewarded career. I want the same for other girls and women because this is an exciting industry: it can take you around the world; it is forever changing; it can help change people’s lives for the better; it is packed with all sorts of opportunity for those willing to reach out and take it.”
Anushka Naiknaware – Inventor, scientist and speaker
Anushka Naiknaware is only 18 years old but is definitely one to watch. We’ve already included her on our list of 10 people under 25 changing the world with STEM blog post for her achievements. Anushka won the Google Science Fair Award in 2016 and is the youngest person to have done this. Most impressively she created a Chitosan and Nanoparticle Based Biocompatible Sensor for wound management – used in a smart bandage that can alert doctors and nurses when it needs to be changed, thus improving its chances of healing – which she speaks about in this TED Talk. She is a STEM advocate who wants to encourage girls to share her passion. She even has a minor planet named after her!
Abigael Bamgboye – FireTech Tutor
Abigael is one of our awesome tutors who inspires and helps kids on our courses – her favourite course to teach is Senior Adventures in Artificial Intelligence. When we interviewed her as part of our ‘Meet the Tutors’ series, she told us that she had been inspired to begin her own journey into STEM by the other women such as Adaobi Adibe and Kike Oniwinde – which supports the notion that we need visible women in STEM to inspire girls and women like Abigael and help them realise that these careers are not just for men. We think Abigael does a fantastic job in our own small corner of STEM to encourage a new generation!
So as you can see, there are some incredible women in STEM who are making a difference right now to other women in the industry and changing the industry itself for the better.
Here at Firetech, we help girls and boys alike explore and discover new skills through STEM projects. Skills which can be applied in all areas of life such as creativity, critical thinking, and innovation. If you would like to find out more about ways in which your child can discover the exciting world of STEM through our courses, click here.