Perhaps surprisingly, we are finally at a point where there are actually more women entering the scientific pipeline than there are men. However, it is at the top of the ivory tower where the disparities lie - there are much fewer women in top management roles than men.
How can this be when equal talent is entering the chain?
Supporting women that face these challenges, offering advice on career progression and ways to deal with the ever-changing landscape, is a possible way to help combat this imbalance. Groups, organisations and individuals that carry out activities like this are cropping up globally - male and female. I want to focus on two of these individuals; one alive today, and one who is not, but both of whom have inspired many women in STEM and continue to do so!
First up is Ada Lovelace, 1815-1852, recognised as the very first computer coder. You can read about her celebrated career here, where she battled social norms of the time to make a mark on the scientific world. Last year actually marked the 200th anniversary of her birth and offered a chance for us to use her as an example to inspire others.
Ada Lovelace Credit: Wikimedia
The second is Suw Charman-Anderson, the founder and force behind Ada Lovelace Day (ALD), the initiative that aims to address the problems of women in STEM by encouraging people to shine a light on those they admire (just how Suw admires Lovelace). Over the last few years, Suw has been at the forefront of these activities, herself an excellent role model, often behind the scenes tirelessly working to inspire and support all women in STEM fields.
This month, Suw has partnered with Figshare, an online digital repository for academic research, who have built an online portal that will enable all outputs from ALD to be showcased under one URL here: https://adalovelaceday.figshare.com.
There are many resources out there for women working in the STEM space, but they are usually difficult to find and are often not in one place! The Figshare portal will showcase all these outputs from both past and present events, that includes videos, photos, and presentations, as well as hosting other materials produced by ALD, including their event organiser's pack, and an education resources pack for teachers. Using the clever technology Figshare offer, all of this information is open for anyone to share, download or embed on their websites!
It's encouraging to see how technology can be utilised in this way to support women in STEM and I am hopeful there will be many more examples to come.