As we celebrate International Women's Day, we recognise the contributions of women throughout history in technology and engineering.
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Women have long faced challenges in seeking a career in STEM fields, which include science, technology, engineering, and math. Despite recent efforts to address gender disparities, women remain underrepresented in these fields.
One of the primary challenges that women face in pursuing STEM careers is the lack of female role models and mentors. This can make it difficult for women to envision themselves in these fields and can lead to a sense of isolation.
So, as we celebrate International Women's Day, we remember the trailblazing women who, despite facing numerous obstacles and societal prejudices, broke barriers and paved the way for future generations of female innovators.
Here are a few famous women who have made an indelible mark on technology and engineering:
Widely considered the world's first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace was a mathematician and writer who worked alongside Charles Babbage, a pioneer in developing computers.
Lovelace is credited with writing the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine. Her visionary ideas about the potential uses of computers helped lay the foundation for modern computing.
Marie Curie was a trailblazing scientist who made significant contributions to the field of radioactivity. In addition to her two Nobel Prizes, she was the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris.
She also founded the Curie Institute in Paris, which remains a leading centre for medical research today. Despite her many achievements, Curie faced significant discrimination and opposition in her career as a woman and non-French citizen.
A computer scientist and naval officer, Grace Hopper was a trailblazer in developing computer languages and programming. She invented the first compiler, which translated instructions written in one language into machine code that computers could understand.
Hopper's work was critical to the development of modern computing, and she is often credited with popularising the term "debugging" to describe the process of finding and fixing errors in computer code.
While better known as a Hollywood starlet in the 1930s and 40s, Hedy Lamarr was also a brilliant inventor who made significant contributions to the field of wireless communication.
Along with composer George Antheil, Lamarr developed a frequency-hopping spread spectrum system that was designed to prevent radio-controlled torpedoes from being jammed.
While the invention was not immediately put to use during World War II, it was later adopted by the U.S. military and played a key role in the development of modern wireless technology.
A pioneering mathematician and NASA employee, Katherine Johnson played a critical role in the early days of the U.S. space program. Her calculations were integral to the success of the first manned spaceflight, and she helped to map out the trajectories of the Apollo missions that landed astronauts on the moon.
Despite facing discrimination as a black woman in a male-dominated field, Johnson persisted and helped pave the way for future generations of women and people of colour in STEM fields.
Another NASA trailblazer, Mary Jackson, was the agency's first African American female engineer. She began her career as a human computer before becoming an aerospace engineer. Her groundbreaking work helped make it possible for women and people of colour to succeed in engineering.
Jackson was also an advocate for diversity and inclusion in STEM, and she worked tirelessly to encourage more women and minorities to pursue careers in science and engineering.
A physician and astronaut, Mae Jemison made history in 1992 when she became the first African American woman to travel to space. Jemison's career has been defined by her commitment to advancing science education and increasing diversity in STEM fields.
After leaving NASA, she founded the Jemison Group, a technology and consulting firm that focuses on developing sustainable technologies and empowering women and minorities in STEM.
Women in the STEM fields.
These are just a few examples of the incredible women who have left their mark on the technology and engineering fields. Despite these and many other achievements, women have faced significant barriers to entering and advancing in STEM fields.
It was not until the latter half of the 20th century that significant progress was made in addressing gender disparities in STEM education and employment. Yet, research has shown that women often face biases and stereotypes that can undermine their confidence and abilities in STEM fields.
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These stereotypes can be particularly damaging for women already underrepresented in these fields, as they can create a self-fulfilling prophecy in which women are discouraged from pursuing STEM careers.
On International Women's Day, therefore, we honour those women who came before us and made incredible contributions to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Today, their legacy inspires new generations of female innovators who are breaking barriers and shaping the future of technology and engineering.
To celebrate International Women's Day, we have combined 15 great songs by women singers from different genres and periods, in no particular order, on our Spotify account! Enjoy!
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