International Women’s Day: Shifting the Balance in STEM

International Women’s Day: Shifting the Balance in STEM
by Nandita Quaderi
Editor-in-Chief, Web of Science Group
Clarivate Analytics

International Women’s Day has its origins in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding voting rights, better pay and shorter working hours. Meanwhile, in Germany, Clara Zetkin, leader of the ‘women’s office’, suggested having an International Women’s Day and 100 women from 17 countries signed on. The first International Women’s Day was celebrated on 19th March 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland and in 1975, the United Nations made it official. Today, it’s an annual reminder to celebrate women’s achievements and continued challenges and to renew our commitment to women’s rights and gender equality.

Women that changed the course of history

Here at Clarivate, we are surrounded by smart, resourceful, committed women who are working to further innovation, science and human advancement. We are invested in building a company where diversity, equality and gender parity are championed and valued.

And as we reflect on International Women’s Day, we are reminded that we stand on the shoulders of women who refused to work invisibly behind the scenes.  This is a day to celebrate the women who had the courage to step out into the spotlight and change the course of history, from politics, to science or sports.

Founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), Emmeline Pankhurst was a British suffragette fighting for equal voting rights between men and women. The WSPU became known for its extreme forms of protest and civil disobedience. During a court trial Pankhurst said, “we are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to be law-makers.” As a result of the women’s suffrage movement, two laws were passed in 1918 and 1928 in the UK that gave women equal voting rights with men.

Tennis champion Billie Jean King changed the course of sports history in the 70’s. She founded the Women’s Tennis Association and has always campaigned for equal prize money for female players. In 1973, she won the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match against the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, which was broadcasted on television with an audience of 50 million. Billie Jean King also founded the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Rosa Parks changed the course of US history by refusing to give up her seat in the “colored section” of the bus to a white passenger, kicking off the year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott. Her protest challenged the racial segregation system and sparked the US civil rights movement in the 1960’s. In the ensuing years, she became a symbol of dignity and strength in the struggle for racial equality.

Mathematician (and daughter of Lord Byron, the poet), Ada Lovelace created the first computer algorithm in the 1830’s. She is regarded as the first person to recognise the full potential of a “computing machine” and is therefore the first computer programmer. Since then, computers and programming have transformed business, our lives and the world.

As a supporter of gender equality, Clarivate Analytics has partnered with the Ada Lovelace Day organization to bring ‘IWD: Shifting the balance in STEM’, an event where you can join fantastic panel speakers in a discussion on the path to having more women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Historically, careers in science, technology, engineering and maths have been reserved to men but it is essential to have more women in STEM. During the event, the panel speakers and myself as moderator, will engage in a conversation on how to get more girls into STEM at a younger age, different STEM career paths, gender bias and the influence of toys, being a woman in STEM and shifting the balance.

Speakers for the event are:

  • Timo Hannay, founder of SchoolDash
  • Filippo Yacob, Founder and CEO of Primo and Pigzbe, Forbes 30 Under 30 Honore
  • Yasmin Ali, Chemical engineer, WES1919 Young Woman Engineer 2013 and one of the BBC Expert Voices
  • Allison Gardner, Co-Founder at Women Leading in AI, Member IEEE P7003 Algorithmic Bias, Head of Foundation Year Science/Teaching Fellow Bioinformatics at Keele University
  • Liz Seward, Senior Strategist – Space Systems at Airbus

Learn more about this year’s event, and book your tickets for free here!

For more articles on Women in STEM, follow our blog series: Women at Clarivate 2018.

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