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When Tech Doesn’t Age Well
The latest issue of re:think, the thought leadership magazine from NCWIT, brings together researchers and tech professionals with a diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives to explore the topic of age in the tech industry. In this article, NCWIT Social Science Program Manager Timothy Faiella discusses several ways ageism can impact both tech professionals and the companies they work for.
Posted on 29 Nov 2021
We asked thousands of women what’s holding them back. Here’s what they had to say
It will take the next 136 years to achieve women’s equality worldwide, according to a recent report by the World Economic Forum. That’s roughly four generations. Imagine a world in which our great great great grandchildren still don’t know what it’s like to see women treated equally in society, business, or in the eyes of the law. Now, let that sink in. As leaders in our organizations, we’ve witnessed the many complex challenges that women face in the workplace, and that has motivated us to champion Gender Equality and UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 in our spheres of influence. In this consequential moment, when “business as usual” will undoubtedly limit the full potential of far too many women and girls, we share a common conviction that we, meaning employers of all shapes and sizes, must do more to change the course of history. The data is clear. When women have full access to dignified work on equal terms, it’s good for society and it’s good for business. But too often, women struggle with bias, discrimination, harassment, violence, and long or irregular hours, a particular burden for those that have a "second shift" at home caring for their families. Ultimately, the gains we’ve made over the last decades are fragile, and too many women today still aren’t heard, valued, or given the equal opportunity to thrive.
Posted on 13 Nov 2021
The Relationship Between AI And Human Rights
The reason AI exists is to make our lives simpler, actions faster, knowledge more usable and decision-making more assured. In these regards, AI has done a fine job and continues to do so in both personal and professional contexts. Despite this, you would come across countless concerns about the ‘ethical issues’ posed by the technology. Pay closer attention, and you will realize that most of these issues stem from human negligence or ignorance. It goes without saying that the relationship between AI and human rights can only be as good as we humans enable it to be. AI-powered systems act on the basis of how competently they have been built and trained. So, executing those two tasks ethically can make sure that AI tools and applications will never violate any human right. The use of AI for humanitarian action necessitates the need to involve several different factors in the research and development phases of AI algorithms. Here, we will see how the right policies and practices, coupled with the right personnel, can resolve the so-called ‘problems’ AI related to human rights.
Posted on 30 Oct 2021
Meet Valerie Thomas, the inventor and scientist who launched the longest-running satellite program imaging Earth’s surface
Valerie Thomas retired from NASA in 1995 after three decades of work, and she left with a legacy as a trailblazing scientist and creative inventor. More than 20 years later, her contributions and her dedication to teaching and uplifting underrepresented youth in her field are still making an impact. During Thomas’s three-decade career at NASA, she connected scientists with the data they need to understand our planet.
Posted on 09 Oct 2021
The Godmother of the Digital Image
The mathematician Ingrid Daubechies’ pioneering work in signal processing helped make our electronic world possible - and beat a path for women in the field. Daubechies’ wide-ranging and collegial mind-set has amounted to something of a social movement. Read more about her interesting life and work.
Posted on 28 Sep 2021
Successful Female Founders Share Tips for Launching a New Business
Launching a new business is not easy, never mind bringing to market an entirely new product or service. oanna Parker could hardly believe that when she landed a deal for her new company, Yumble Kids, from Bethenny Frankel on Shark Tank. However, It was not just Shark Tank or Bethanny Frankel that made Yumble Kids successful. It was Parker’s foresight to test the market before going into full-on launch mode. That not only gave her a proof of concept but also the opportunity to get valuable feedback from her target audience. Here are some tips how to start a new and successful business.
Posted on 14 Sep 2021
How Gender Bias Inhibits Progress and What Leaders Can Do About It
In 1970, American luggage executive Bernard Sadow took four castors from a wardrobe, secured them to a suitcase, and added a strap. It was the world’s first rolling suitcase. Except that it wasn’t. Anita Willets-Burnham, an American impressionist artist, may be the earliest inventor of the wheeled suitcase. Before embarking on a second world tour in 1928, she came up with the idea to put wheels on a suitcase. Her son implemented her idea using two baby carriage wheels and a telescoping wooden handle. Fast-forward to the 1970s, Sadow had trouble getting department store chains to sell his rolling suitcase. The reason was due to two gender stereotypes: The first was that men would not use a wheeled suitcase because it was too effeminate. The second was the industry assumption that women always travelled with men who could carry the bags. It took 15 more years for the wheeled suitcase to go mainstream, taking off in 1987 when U.S. pilot Robert Plath created the modern cabin bag with wheels and an extended handle—similar to the telescoping handle on Burnham’s 1928 suitcase. A more recent example of gender bias inhibiting progress relates to the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Katalin Karikó researched messenger RNA (mRNA) for decades—but her efforts were repeatedly dismissed and devalued by her employer, the University of Pennsylvania. When she was unable to find research funding, the university demoted her out of her tenure-track position in 1995. Normally, university faculty who are denied tenure leave. Karikó stayed for eight more years but was never reinstated to her tenure-track position.
Posted on 30 Aug 2021
Language Matters
We need to reflect on how we wield our words as scientists and educators, especially when doing work to make academe and science more diverse, writes Maria Qadri. Education is supposed to be a lifelong process. It is not something that ends with a terminal degree or accolade. In learning about our disciplines, those of us who are in STEM fields must not forget to learn about ourselves. We should set aside an hour, a minute or at least a mere moment to the intentional self-reflection that ensures inclusive practice. What are we doing to make the world a little bit better, who we are truly serving, and how are we upholding systems and structures that perpetuate injustice? As we learn more about who we are, what we value, and where we come up short, we do better at achieving the transformation in scientific pedagogy and research that we advocate for.
Posted on 17 Aug 2021
Stephanie Kwolek: The Groundbreaking Chemist Whose Invention Stops Bullets
Meet Stephanie Kwolek, who's invention of Kevlar has saved countless lives over the past 40 years. Kevlar is a fiber five times stronger than steel that is now used in numerous products ranging from boots for firefighters to spacecraft - and most famously, in bulletproof vests. It's estimated that since Kevlar's introduction to body armor in the 1970s, the lives of over 3,000 police officers have been saved, as well as those of innumerable soldiers and others in conflict zones. On the day that the pioneering chemist passed away in June 2014 at the age of 90, DuPont announced that the one-millionth protective vest made using Kwolek's lifesaving invention was sold.
Posted on 31 Jul 2021
Girls Think of Everything
A book of stories of ingenious inventions by women; In kitchens and living rooms, in garages and labs and basements, even in converted chicken coops, women and girls have invented ingenious innovations that have made our lives simpler and better. Their creations are some of the most enduring (the windshield wiper) and best loved (the chocolate chip cookie). What inspired these women, and just how did they turn their ideas into realities? This updated and expanded 2018 edition includes even more inventors and their inventions that reflect our diverse and technological world. An outstanding collective biography of women and girls who changed the world with their inventions. Thimmesh surveys unique and creative ideas that were both borne of necessity or were simply a product of ingenuity and hard work.
Posted on 31 Jul 2021

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