White House Launches Campaign Celebrating Women In STEM Throughout History

women-programmers

It’s no secret that men outnumber women in all areas of STEM (science, tech, engineering and math). But what still remains a secret to some is that there have been women making great strides throughout history in these industries, yet they aren’t as celebrating and lauded on the same level as men.

Ask anyone who Albert Einstein is, and they can at least conjure up an image of a moustachioed scientist with a shock of white hair, while others may know his famous theory of relativity. But to this day he is considered one of the greatest intelligent minds that has ever existed.

Ask anyone who Marie Curie is and there may be a handful who know the name. She is a pioneer scientist who discovered radium, and she remains the only female who has ever won the Nobel Peace Prize twice. In fact Marie Cure and Einstein were friends, but the difference was that Marie was shunned by the French science community because she was a woman.

In an effort to even out the score and enable people to become accustomed to prominent women in STEM industries just as much as men, the White House has launched a campaign to celebrate these pioneer ladies as well as their world-changing contributions.

It is called The Untold History Of Women in Science And Technology and women from the Obama administration are spearheading this new campaign. Women including Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith (a pioneer herself being the first female CTO at the White House) have uploaded short audio clips to the campaign website giving you an overview of who these women were, what they did and why they are important to our history, not just women.

The featured pioneers include Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Poet Lord Byron, who is credited with coming up with the algorithm for computer programming.

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NASA Chief Scientist Dr. Ellen Stofan talks about Katherine Johnson, an African-American physicist, space scientist and mathematician who made enormous contributions to America’s aeronautics and space programs by her incorporation of computing tools.

Dr. Ellen Stofan also spoke about astronaut Sally Ride, who became the first American woman (and also the youngest American at age 32) to fly into space in June 1983. In 2013, a year after her death, Sally was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and she is also known as the first LGBT astronaut. After her retirement, Sally started the Sally Ride Science center which focused on encouraging and educating girls to become the STEM leaders of tomorrow.

Jo Handelsman, who is currently the Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, brags on American geneticist Barbara McClintock who discovered the ability of genes to change position on the chromosome.

Something interesting Jo Handelsman mentions is that Barbara was a scientist who trusted her data implicitly, even if there were anomalies and it didn’t make sense. She had great faith in her ability, her work and the science. Just those sentiments alone show why this campaign is important, because statistics show the more women have representation of pioneer women in fields they never knew of before, they can have confidence and faith in their own abilities that anything is possible.

barbara-mclintock

“Women were central in the early teams building the foundation of modern programming. They unveiled the structure of DNA. Their work inspired new environmental movements and led to the discovery of new genes. It’s past time to write their stories permanently into history, so they can stand side by side with the extraordinary men like them who have used their technical and innovation skills to bring needed solutions and discoveries to our world,” says the official White house press release about this important campaign.

Aside from the women already included on the website, the campaign is asking you to contribute women who you know are pioneers throughout history in STEM fields to add to the growing list, and inspire the next generation of girls.

“Research shows us that a key part of inspiring more young people to pursue careers in science and technology is simply sharing the stories of role models like them in these fields who have had a significant impact on our world.” writes Megan Smith.

Here’s to the next generation of Ada Lovelaces, Barbara Mclintocks, Sally Rides, and many many more.

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One Comment

  1. Pingback: Historical Women in STEM ! – Veronique's The Source Book Project

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