4 Women Trailblazers in Safety and STEM
March is National Women’s Month and we are celebrating by highlighting the history of women in safety and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). There was a time when women didn’t “go into science” or “weren’t into” math, engineering and construction, however there are many trailblazers who didn’t give in to the belief that women couldn’t do “those types of things.” And because of those trailblazers, countless women have made significant improvements in safety, mechanics, and science.
Below is a Life magazine photo of MIT’s class of 1956. There were just 12 women in a class of 759. Can you find them?
Mit Story – ’56 (Feb 25, 1956) by Gjon Mili LIFE Photo Collection[/caption]
Ellen Swallow Richards was the first woman admitted to MIT, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1873. She completed the requirements for a master’s degree, but the Institute refused to grant her it.
Disparities like those seen centuries ago, and what we still see to some degree today, is why I think it’s important to recognize and celebrate women’s progress in our field. It is only recently that cultural expectations shifted toward envisioning women and girls in science and technology fields. But we still have a lot of work to do. Today, women make up only 28% of the workforce in STEM, and men vastly outnumber women majoring in most STEM fields in college.
The proportion of women to men in today’s overall labor force is narrowing. Over 72 million women work in the civilian labor force, which accounts for almost 47 percent of all U.S. workers, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from February 2021.
Younger generations are seeing past gender stereotypes and will continue to blaze into STEM, safety management, manufacturing, and construction management careers at a rapid pace. Millennials are steadfast on teaching their daughters and sons the importance of gender equality helping to continue to move in the right direction of progress seeing these workforces reflect our population.
It is critical we shine a light on the women who have come before us in addition to creating a path for girls and women as they chose these fields. It’s the responsible thing to do.
So here are four women who inspire me as they blaze the road to equality.