Intelligent, capable, and creative, female career leaders are often praised for their intrepid solutions and flexibility. Likewise, throughout history, the inventions of women have contributed to the convenience, safety, and efficacy of our daily lives. Despite that, the female demographic is woefully underrepresented in the fields most often associated with innovation: science, engineering, technology, and math.
Only 13% of American engineers are women,  a fact that’s often attributed to bias-led barriers to entry, discrimination, hostile working environments, and an unreasonable pay gap. In an effort to combat these issues and balance this underrepresentation, many schools, professional organizations, and companies working with STEM are attempting to engage young women who have the skills and interests ideal for the next generation of engineers.
Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, a global outreach campaign created by the American Society of Professional Engineers, is happening this February 25. It’s all about embracing engineering through participation in engaging educational activities that promote the use of problem solving skills and help young women to envision themselves as a participant in a STEM career.
These future STEM leaders have much inspiration to be drawn from respected female innovators, both past and present.
- Evelyn Wang, the Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, developed a technology which uses a metal-organic framework to extract water from night air in arid conditions; it was named one of the Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2017 by Scientific American
- Kimberly Bryant, an electrical, biotechnical, and pharmaceutical engineer, founded the not-for-profit tech education camp Black Girls Code when she was unable to find a similar program for her daughter which satisfied her needs. The organization now has 15 global chapters, and Ms. Bryant has been named one of 2013’s Most Influential African Americans in Technology by Business Insider.
- Nora Stanton Barney, the granddaughter of famed suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was the first woman to graduate from Cornell with an engineering degree, the first woman member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and an employee of both the American Bridge Company and the New York City Board of Water Supply.
If you or your child are interested in participating in this year’s virtual events for Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, head over to the NSPE site to enroll.