International Women’s Day: the status of #womenintech online
As you probably already know, the 8th of March is International Women’s Day! Organisations are making an extra effort to promote the equality of women in different sectors. What is the status of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)? We’ve been delving into the data and finding some striking peaks over the past year!
The hashtag #womenintech was used more than 79 thousand times last year and the hashtag #womeninSTEM an incredible 205 thousand times — this hashtag being all about the promotion of women and gender equality in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Major events attract attention online
Major events promote Women in Tech and Women in STEM as well. On the 17th February, for example, there was quite a peak in volume following the annual event of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (#AAASmtg). The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) also plays a major role in this event.
Of course we can look for these types of events a bit closer to home. The European Women in Tech Conference, for example, is organised in November of each year and takes place in Amsterdam. Key speakers are invited to this event: women at the top of international tech companies.
Women at the top of tech companies have a major impact on the social debate. This is evident from a major peak in volume on the 20th of July, when Girls Who Code founder and CEO, Reshma Saujani, tweeted about why she started her business. Her broad reach and frequent visibility on social media makes her, among other things, a major influential in promoting Women in Tech.
There’s also a lot of attention given to female role models in the tech world when the ‘Inspiring Fifty’ awards are announced worldwide. InspiringFifty is a non-profit organisation that aims to increase diversity in the tech world by making female role models more visible. This initiative actually began in the Netherlands, but has now been adopted worldwide.
In August, a lot of attention goes to the awards ceremony in South Africa with the hashtags #InspiringFiftySA and # Inspiring50SA. Their slogan: “If she can see it, she can be it!”. The general public votes on the nominees, with the result being 50 of the most inspiring female role models in tech — the ‘Inspiring Fifty’.
More than half of all 1,131 messages regarding the ‘Inspiring Fifty’ relate to the awards in South Africa but it’s worth noting that a lot of attention is also paid to the ‘Inspiring Fifty’ of the Netherlands in May. Other countries where the ‘Inspiring Fifty’ also gets a lot of media attention are Italy, France and Belgium.
Praise for the predecessors
There’s a lot of interest via social media for women who, in the past, have contributed important developments to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. For example, Ada Lovelace, a 19th-century British mathematician who later became known for her description of the ‘analytical machine’, is commemorated on the 8th of October. She is widely known as the designer of the very first computer program. Her memory is celebrated worldwide with the hashtags #womenintech and #womeninstem.
Our Bedford office hosted a dedication ceremony & #WomeninSTEM panel in honor of Mary Szekely, founding member of Progress, who led the development of #OpenEdge. We are so #ProgressProud to honor her & continue her legacy w/ phenomenal #womenintech 💚#AdaLovelaceDay #DayofTheGirl pic.twitter.com/8K5LiYk3fA
— Progress (@ProgressSW) October 11, 2019
Hoy se conmemora el #AdaLovelaceDay para resaltar los logros de las niñas y mujeres en las disciplinas STEM #womeninSTEM #niñasSTEM ¡Felicidades a todas pero en especial a las matemáticas! pic.twitter.com/rLMr4qtpsU
— Festival Matemático (@FestMatematico) October 8, 2019
Education for young women
There is also worldwide attention for stimulating education and career opportunities for young women in the tech world. According to the British accounting firm PWC, education is of utmost importance for stimulating girls’ interests in careers in the technical sector.
Shell and Unilever NG Vision 2020 support a national non-profit initiative in Nigeria to promote training and career opportunities for girls in the STEM industry. Money is also being raised in Canada to support STEM-education, and the CryptoChicks education hub supports women and girls to be able to grow professionally within the blockchain field.
Social debate continues
It’s clear on social media that the social debate surrounding women in Tech (and therefore also within Science, Engineering and Mathematics) is far from over. Which is why various discussions are often raised on the hashtags #WomenInTech and #WomenInStem, where inspiring stories are shared and critical questions are asked regarding the underrepresentation of women in the tech world. One thing is clear: a rising trend in 2019 was proof that the conversation around Women in Tech had only just begun…