Female engineers will never have equal footing with their male counterparts. This is not to imply anything in terms of performance, money, or status, but rather to bring to light the fact that women come across different, and often times, more challenging obstacles along their career path than men.
For example, it takes an additional mental aptitude to remain in a place where you do not feel welcome. Have you ever felt unwelcome at a party? You have the choice to leave and go home with little to no consequences. Now imagine that party was your passion for STEM, your career. Women in STEM are still being met with resistance. Ultimately, they will never be equal, regardless if they achieve the same pay and positions as their male counterparts, because they have had to work harder to reach those goals. Additionally, Women of Color (WOC) face their own unique challenges in STEM fields as they must navigate racism as well as sexism.
This article aims to illustrate the diversity throughout the long history of science and engineering, but also point out that women still face many challenges today. In order to advance science, we must recognize and overcome these biases. Let’s start with some history.
At the age of 17 (year 1832), Ada Lovelace met Charles Babbage. He showed her his plans for creating an Analytical Engine. Lovelace got started adding pages of notes and ideas to his paper. Subsequently, she wrote an algorithm that could be used with the machine to generate numbers in the Bernoulli series. Babbage published these notes along with his paper describing his Analytical Engine, but it wasn’t until more than a century after her death that Lovelace’s notes were recognized as the world’s first computer program.