According to International Women’s Day’s website, the first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1909 by the Socialist Party of America as way to honor the 1908 garment workers’ strike that happened a year earlier. Today, the International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide on March 8 to promote awareness of women’s growing demands for equality in citizenship and leadership, and for full legal and human rights. Since 1909, the world has come to see a positive development concerning gender equality, but there is still a long way to go. This is especially true for the tech sector and STEM educations.
With the New Economy of technological change that we are entering, we need girls and women in STEM education and professions. In the U.S, the tech sector is further away from reaching gender equality than the U.S. economy as a whole, according to Felix Richter, data journalist at Statista. 46.8 percent of the U.S. labor force were women in 2018, but in the tech sector the number was significantly lower. Digging deeper into the tech sector, Statista presents some interesting figures indicating that the gender gap in the tech sector is very much a problem that needs to be addressed:
- In 2017, 44 percent of female respondents stated that discrimination against women in the tech industry was a major problem, while in comparison only 29 percent of male respondents had the same perspective on the matter.
- In 2018, 71 percent of startups in the U.S. had no female board members.
- In 2018, 57 percent of startups in the U.S. had no female executives.
The Embassy of Sweden in Washington DC is acknowledging this year’s International Women’s Day by hosting the Tekla Dialogue at the House of Sweden, an event that will offer a strong platform for discussions about girls’ education and women in STEM. The Tekla Dialogue is part of the international launch of the Tekla Festival, an initiative founded by renowned Swedish recording artist Robyn and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm with the aim of getting more girls involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
On March 8 (International Women’s Day) girls from ages 11 to 14 will get the opportunity to attend a Tekla workshop at House of Sweden where they will build, test and create with technology together with the Tekla team. On March 9, the Embassy of Sweden will host The Tekla Dialogue, a moderated conversation that will focus on gender equality, women in tech and the importance of creating initiatives for girls. Robyn will take part in this panel with invited guests. Moderator of the panel is Ms. Natalia Brzezinski, CEO of Brilliant Minds Foundation and host of Brilliant Minds podcast on Spotify.
Watch Robyn announce the global plans for Tekla here.
Author: Hanna Isacsson, intern at the Office of Science and Innovation in Washington DC