by Jess Samuels
March is Women’s History Month and March 8th is International Women’s Day. These serve as yearly reminders to honor women’s achievements and to continue to press forward in advocating for women’s rights. A number of online campaigns have launched this year, including the #NotThere hashtag and video, raising awareness about gender inequality. #NotThere is just one of many hashtags promoted for this important day. Visit InternationalWomensDay.com to learn about the various campaigns and the 2015 theme “Make It Happen.”
Google promoted International Women’s Day through it’s search engine Doodle. Doodles are a fun way for Google to raise awareness about topics, inventions or people deserving of recognition. Unfortunately, SPARK recently documented that between 2010-2013, of the 445 people Google honored, only 17 percent were women.
Google is aware of the issue and promises to do better. Google Doodle team lead Ryan Germick reported to The Huffington Post, “This year we’re hoping to have women and men equally represented. So far this year we’ve done Doodles for as many women as men, a big shift from figures below 20 percent in past years.”
Google is working on other ways to promote gender equality in technology, with it’s Women Techmakers global summits and meet ups throughout the month of March. These events provide resources and visibility to women in technology. While unfortunately there is no meet up in my area this year (check their map to see if there is one in yours), I am marking my calendar to apply to attend the summit next year. What a great opportunity to meet inspirational women in tech!
Another campaign Google/YouTube are promoting is the #DearMe videos. They are asking women to tape themselves answering the question: “What advice would you give your younger self?” These videos give inspiration to young women who may feel discouraged or filled with uncertainty.
What would I say to my younger self?
It’s okay to be a nerd and geek. Embrace that identity because it will lead you to the places where you are most fulfilled. Take it a step further and explore your creativity in technology. Take classes in design, think about the communications field and explore your interests instead of feeling pressure to pick a major right away. Find ways to practice what you love and you’ll get even better at it. Find other people, other women, who have some of the same passions as you do and nurture that excitement. Oh, and make sure to buy a Mac instead of a PC sophomore year of college 😉