Women have made tremendous strides in the workplace within the past century, including impressive gains in historically male-dominated fields such as law, business and medicine. However, within the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), women’s progress has not been as significantly recognized, although their success in the workplace is on the rise. At Dassault Systèmes, we are consistently working to encourage and empower our female employees through training and networking to ensure that they are involved in STEM initiatives of the future. In fact, our North American WIN (Women’s Initiative) program is a great example of how we’ve translated a belief into action, by ensuring our female employees have access to professional networking and mentoring, and by funding education for technical students in Rwanda.
In an era when women are finally reaching equality to their male counterparts, female triumphs in STEM must continue to be recognized and celebrated. One recent example to follow comes from the Danish company LEGO, which recently announced that it would produce the Women of NASA set in order to honor those who have made a big impact through their work at NASA.
Women of NASA Set
The Women of NASA set knocked out eleven other prospective projects in their LEGO Ideas competition and earned 10,000 supporters in only two weeks. It is clear that many voters wanted to give a voice to women’s rich history in STEM professions. Maia Weinstock, a science writer who proposed the project stated that “in many cases, [women’s] contributions are unknown or under-appreciated – especially as they have historically struggled to gain acceptance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.” Therefore it is a feat for women to be celebrated and recognized by LEGO for their immense involvement in the STEM realm. This new set features five notable space explorers including:
- Margaret Hamilton – A computer scientist known for popularizing the concept of software.
- Katherine Johnson – A mathematician and space scientist best known for calculating trajectories for the Mercury and Apollo programs. Most recently, her character was played by Taraji Henson in the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures
- Sally Ride – An astronaut, physicist, and educator who became the first American woman in space in 1983.
- Nancy Grace Roman – An astronomer who is known for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope.
- Mae Jemison – An astronaut, physician, and entrepreneur who became the first African-American woman in space in 1992.
At Dassault Systèmes, we are long-time advocates for women’s involvement in STEM, and recently had a close encounter of our own with a female pioneer in space. At SOLIDWORKS World 2017, keynote speaker Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space explorer, made waves with her speech about overcoming the Iranian revolution and the challenges behind making a name for herself in aerospace. As a space ambassador, she strives to inspire women and minorities to get involved in STEM. In order to support more women in STEM, Dassault Systèmes puts a strong emphasis on recognizing those involved in the industry. In fact, we want to encourage millennials to push themselves and break stereotypes by maintaining representation from such noteworthy women, like Ansari, who speak to encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Furthermore, we have also compiled a relevant list of current and upcoming books that look at the women who have shaped the modern world in STEM. You can familiarize yourself with them here on a previous post on our Navigate the Future blog.