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Women in tech: Meet the trailblazers of STEM equality

Yahoo-Microsoft Merger Proxy Fight – May 14, 2008

By G C Network | May 18, 2008

As I alluded to last week, “It’s not over ’till it’s over” Carl Ichan Looking to Start Yahoo Proxy Fight Money – The Microsoft-Yahoo Merger may not be over. Billionaire investor Carl C. Icahn is considering the prospect of starting a proxy fight to gain several seats on Yahoo’s board in hopes of restarting negotiations…

Now in the ring Sun/Amazon! – May 04, 2008

By G C Network | May 18, 2008

The Sun/Amazon cloud may be announced soon. Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz delivered a short keynote at Startup Camp in San Francisco, an adjunct event to the JavaOne Conference. According to Om Malik at “buzzya“, he let on to some interesting cloud computing news coming out later this week. Important Article on Cloud Computing and Jeff…

Microsoft gives up on Yahoo? – May 04, 2008

By G C Network | May 18, 2008

“Cloud computing is far more than a concept. With Broadband Internet connections now all-but-ubiquitous and microcomputers and locally-run software now so trouble-prone, Cloud Computing’s time has come.” This is a quote from Steve Stroh’s newly started blog on cloud computing. Steve has been writing about about Broadband Wireless Internet Access systems and technology since beginning…

IBM, Google and the Blue Business Platform – May 01, 2008

By G C Network | May 18, 2008

Today was good !! This morning. there was a main session built around “CIO 2.0”. The basic premise was that CIOs have now earned a seat at the business management table. With that privilege, they now need to have something worthwhile to say. In accordance with the session’s title then, CIOs are now at a…

The coming cloud – April 30, 2008

By G C Network | May 18, 2008

I attended the IBM Public Sector briefing this morning. The IBM executives were clearly basking in a financial performance glow. After ending 2007 with increases in revenue, profit and earnings per share, IBM also turned in an impressive 1Q’08. This being a partner conference, a big highlight was the fact that 36% of IBM’s revenue…

Google, Cloud Computing, and the US Intelligence Community – April 29, 2008

By G C Network | May 18, 2008

Just arrived in Los Angeles for the IBM Business Partner Leadership Conference. IBM is billing this as a “new” conference, but I have my doubts. I am, however, very interested in hearing many of the speakers, particularly Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google. His presentation on “The Future of the Web, Cloud Computing and…

Location Based Services – April 25, 2008

By G C Network | May 18, 2008

INmobile.org is a exclusive community for executives in wireless industry. As a member, I have the opportunity to participate in a number of interesting discussions about mobile and wireless technology. Here’s a summary of the points made in a recent discussion about location based services. Thanks goes to Adam Zawel for this excellent summary. CARRIER’S…

IBM Business Partner Leadership Conference – April 23, 2008

By G C Network | May 18, 2008

I just completed registration for the IBM Business Partner Leadership Conference. This is a new invitation-only conference being held this year in Los Angeles from Wednesday, April 30th through Friday, May 2nd. I’m looking forward to renewing my IBM contacts “in person” versus the “virtual” meetings that have become such a fixture of today’s business…

Telephone & Web = WOW !! – April 21, 2008

By G C Network | May 18, 2008

The power of the Internet and the web lies in its ability to provide access to information. The mobile web takes this one step further with its ability to provide information relevant to a specific location. Although the promise of this marriage is mind boggling, computer and smart-phone keyboards have slowed the adoption and widespread…

The Power of Family Oral History – April 19, 2008

By G C Network | May 18, 2008

Although I just started this yesterday, I’ve decided to backdate this entry to last Saturday, April 12, 2008. That’s when my family had it’s 3rd Annual Black History Party. The main reason I’m doing this is because of the life lesson that experience taught me. That lesson was the power of family oral history. For…

CEO, SKJ Visioneering, LLC
 

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals are drivers of innovation,creativity and invention. STEM disciplines are significant drivers of economies worldwide, and STEM careers are rewarding and fulfilling. The promise of STEM is therefore important for economies and individuals; however, in most countries around the world, we do not have STEM professionals that reflect the gender makeup of our population.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I share more information on the issue and potential solutions. I also profile women technology trailblazers who have made significant contributions to STEM and our global society.

There are over 316 million people in the U.S.; 49.2 percent male and 50.8 percent female, according to the U.S. Census. While women currently hold more than 51.6 percent of all professional occupations in the U.S., only 26.7 percent are in computing-related occupations.

Companies with employees from diverse backgrounds tend to be more creative and profitable. A large body of evidence exists to substantiate this assertion. Diverse collaborative teams leverage a broader perspective of experiences and ideas. They create more innovative products and services that appeal to a wider, global audience.

Sadly, there are many factors that enable gender bias in STEM disciplines. Some include socialization for girls, subtle biases in school and at work, and how women approach the workplace. For example, women tend to downplay their skills and are sometimes challenged by salary discussions. A recent Yale University study found that men and women tend to subconsciously chose men over women with the same skills. In addition, when women are chosen, they are offered lowered salaries than the men.

There are many solutions to this complex issue, including educating the workforce on these subtle biases, developing and participating in pre-college outreach programs, providing mentoring, coaching and other support and having access to visible role models. For example, a few years ago a friend shared with me that his daughter did not believe successful women engineers exist. I invited her, her parents and several of my STEM girlfriends over for lunch. We spent the afternoon sharing, encouraging and inspiring. Years later, this young lady is still excited about that lunch and is planning to become a future engineer.

Here are five technology trailblazers who walk among us. They have made valuable contributions to our global society and provide inspiration for many. We honor them as innovative women who have changed the world.

  • Maria Azua, Ph.D.  is the Global Head of Infrastructure Engineering at Barclays. Prior to this role she held several technical leadership and executive positions at IBM. She is an author and inventor with 99 issued and pending patents. She is a member of the Women in Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame.
  • Nancy Jackson, Ph.D.is the Manager, International Chemical Threat Reduction Department at Sandia National Laboratories, and currently on sabbatical at the United States Department of State. She works with scientists around the world to help volatile regions manage their chemical inventories and secure their chemicals. Dr. Jackson is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
  • Shawna Lemon, Ph.D. is a shareholder with Myers Bigel Sibley & Sajovec, P.A., a full-service intellectual property firm. She is a scientist and a patent attorney with a focus on biotechnology. Dr. Lemon has been included in The Best Lawyers in America® (2015) and Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite (2014).
  • Joan Mitchell, Ph.D. is a leading developer of image compression methods and co-inventor of jpeg. She is the co-editor of the jpeg standard, is co-author of the definitive jpeg textbook, and co-author of a book on mpeg. She has over 110 patents and dozens more pending. Dr. Mitchell is a retired IBM Fellow, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
  • Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, Ph.D. is the Founder and CEO of Drawbridge, a startup company that provides technology-based marketing services for mobile devices. She was previously the Lead Scientist with AdMob, which has been acquired by Google. Dr. Sivaramakrishnan’s work is onboard New Horizons, NASA’s spacecraft heading towards Pluto and beyond.

I invite you to reach out to young ladies and encourage them to pursue STEM disciplines or to participate in mentoring and coaching programs. You may start with the IEEE Women in Engineering, the Society of Women Engineers or Women in Technology International.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 3/18/2015 to clarify the number of issued and pending patents by Maria Azua, Ph.D.

( This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. To learn more about tech news and analysis visit Tech Page One. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.)
 

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