IWD: ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’

How can we advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls? How is it that women continue to be under-represented in so many fields including science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design? We need to take a new approach if we are to break down the barriers. We must seek out role models who inspire us?

5 inspiring women in these important fields are:

  1. Geologist, Professor Dame Jane Francis who is the director of the British Antarctic Survey and Chancellor of the University of Leeds. She is the fourth woman to be awarded a Polar Medal and she has devoted her life to understanding the global impact that climate change has on our environment.
  2. Dr Sue Black, a computer scientist and social entrepreneur. She saved Bletchley Park for the nation, set up an industry initiative called BCSWomen, enabling women to learn to code, and founded Tech Mums. She is now a professor in computer science at Durham University and a government adviser.
  3. Professor Dame Ann Dowling was the first female Professor in the Engineering Department of the University of Cambridge and she is the first woman president of the Royal Academy of Engineering. She has researched fluid mechanics, acoustics and combustion and she has pioneered the silent aircraft initiative.
  4. Professor Mariana Mazzucato who is an intellectual, an economist and Director of University College of Economics of Innovation and Public Value. She influences political leaders across the world as she considers the relationship between financial markets, innovation and economic growth.
  5. Amanda Levete pushes against the boundaries of conventional design. She applies her creative discipline to male bastions such as Lords Cricket Ground and high profile museums like the V&A. She believes that there has never been a better time to be a woman.

And what are the key ingredients that these female role models have in common? They are all:

  • Resilient
  • Determined
  • Unconventional
  • Pragmatic
  • Curious…and
  • Fearless

We need to celebrate women like these. We need to share their stories. We need to let young girls know they have incredible women they can look up to. We need to level the playing field.

Who are your role models?