First things first, women playing an active role in the advancement of science is nothing new. They have been involved in several high priority projects since the inception of modern technology. From Annie Easley’s contribution in STEM to Ada Lovelace’s computer programming, women have made their impact in tech.
Unfortunately, due to the biases present in society that trickle down to the world of today, these women were often not recognized or acknowledged; let alone celebrated. If the gender gap seen in the STEM industry is vast, it is not because fewer women are interested in these fields; it is because they were not given the chance to participate, earlier.
Despite continuing latent prejudice, there are many women still persevering and changing the world for the better. Here are some inspiring women from the technological world.
To make our smart technology even smarter, the next big thing is artificial intelligence. Advancement in AI can mean anything from self-driving cars to improved search engines and much more unprecedented progress.
Jasmine Anteunis’s AI chatbot company, called Recast, has taken the monumental next steps for the technology to prosper. As of now, the tech has been bought by 20 high-profile customers already and has a long way to go!
Chantelle Bell, along with Anya Roy, founded Syrona Women while the two were students of Bioscience at Cambridge University. The female duo has developed a device similar to a home pregnancy-test that enables women to test themselves for cervical cancer. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have already been raised by this venture.
On top of the product winning several awards, from bodies like AccelerateHER Scotland, Tata and Bethnal Green Ventures etc, it has also made a much-needed convenience possible in the lives of other women. The two co-founders have led several inspiring talks at Cambridge and at the esteemed MEDICA conference in Dusseldorf, Germany.
After completing her PhD at CERN, this Swedish engineering physicist went on to work in women’s reproductive health and strove to improve female contraception. Her work on the Higgs-Boson particle is just as significant as the algorithm she created, which helps women determine their fertile window accurately.
The app is called Natural Cycles and it was released in 2013. As of today, the app is used by 900,000 people in more than 200 countries and has generated over $37.5 million.
Based at the MIT Media Lab, Joy Buolamwini is a computer scientist and a digital activist. Her interesting work, aptly titled Algorithmic Justice League, is based on discovering biases in AI while developing a sense of accountability. If you would like more insight into her work, her TED talk is available and has been viewed a million times.
Her NY Times article listing the dangers of facial analysis technology forced lawmakers to investigate the risks associated with it. She also received a $50,000 grant as winner of a science and tech contest inspired by the critically-acclaimed movie Hidden Figures.
Everyone has heard about the wonders of gene-editing. In 2012, Emmanuelle Charpentier, with another partner, discovered the technology known as CRISPR. This gene-editing method is now widely used to edit the DNA sequence, leading to groundbreaking advancements in modern medicine.
Today, CRISPR is valued at over $2.5 billion with offices all over the world including in the US, Switzerland, and the UK.
Charpentier is currently working on founding her own research unit at the prestigious Max Planck Society in Germany.
With her brilliantly impactful start-up, Marita Chang has transformed lives. Australian native Cheng made it to the Forbes Under 30 list when she created Aubot. This robot is a telepresence robot designed perfectly for kids with cancer or other debilitating diseases. With its help, children are able to attend school virtually and don’t have to miss too much on account of their health. It can also help people with disabilities to attend work.
Another brilliant invention that she helped found is Airpoly, an app that helps the visually impaired by recognizing and describing objects in real time. Both these inventions were extremely influential and beneficial for humankind.
In the current era, women are being encouraged to pursue STEM education. There was coverage on a woman in Oakland encouraging young girls to take it up as a career on sites such as eurweb.com. In the same vein, Marita Cheng has also founded an international non-profit organization that helps women pursuing education and careers in engineering. Already it has taught about 70,000 workshops globally.
An Oxford-trained medical doctor, Amy Jadesimi is the CEO of LADOL, which is West Africa’s largest logistics engineering facility that is in a free trade zone.
By using the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, her company is providing service to sectors other than the oil industry, thus creating thousands of jobs. Because of her steps in sustainability, the World Economic Forum has named Jadesimi a Young Global Leader.
All of these women are brilliant and phenomenal in different ways, but we can guarantee that they have one thing in common: they have changed the world for the better, while breaking several harmful stereotypes about women in the process.