“Women's Day” was first celebrated on February 28, 1909, when the Socialist Party of America in New York City organized it. The American commemorations inspired Germany in 1910 and Europe the following year to have a Women’s Day celebration. Even though International Women's Day (IWD) was declared a national holiday after women gained suffrage in 1917, it was associated with far-left movements and governments until the feminist movement embraced it in the late 1960s. When the United Nations declared IWD a global holiday in 1977, IWD became a mainstream holiday. Each year, the UN has associated the IWD holiday with a particular issue, campaign, or theme related to women's rights. Embracing equity is the theme for this year's International Women's Day. “Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all embrace equity. Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness about discrimination. Take action to drive gender parity. IWD belongs to everyone, everywhere. Inclusion means all IWD action is valid.”
Our celebration of International Women's Day and Women's History Month allows us to spotlight accomplished women in STEM fields. Here are five ways you can be inspired to be innovative to honor these amazing women!
1. Code like Grace Hopper
Grace Murray Hopper gave us one of the most significant inventions in history while working on the Universal Automatic Computer (UNIAVC) I and II. She developed automatic programming and explored various methods of using computers to code. Her first compiler, A-0, translated mathematical code into machine-readable code in 1952, a significant step toward modern programming languages. Learn how to program a robot and build a computer (Instructions Here)
2. Create a video game inspired by Carol Shaw
Get innovative and design a console game like Carol Shaw, the first successful female video game developer. During her time at Atari, Shaw invented 3-D Tic Tac Toe (1978), which took six months to develop, Video Checkers (1980), and Super Breakout (1982). Carol's brilliant mind made it easy for us to monetize video games, and she retired at 35 because of her tremendous achievement in the industry.
3. Design bridge concepts reminiscent of Emily Roebling
In engineering, Emily Roebling is credited with managing the Brooklyn Bridge, the first woman-driven construction project. Roebling spent ten years perfecting the bridge's completion, and in 1883 she became the first person to cross it. Using her impressive project as motivation, challenge your engineering skills by experimenting with compression and tension forces as you design a bridge.
4. Create cool constellations influenced by Williamina Fleming and Anna Jump Cannon
Create mini constellations in tribute to Williamina Fleming and Anna Jump Cannon, who analyzed the spectra of stars and formulated the standard classification system for stars. Cannon and Fleming met while working on the Harvard Computers team. Using imaging data, Fleming discovered the Horsehead Nebula and the first white dwarf, the remnant of a star like our Sun after it dies. Cannon classified around 350,000 stars throughout her career.
5. Take after Dr. Katherine Easu and have a green thumb
Herb your enthusiasm by planting seeds and moist cotton balls in a baggie and taping them to a window in a decorated mini greenhouse you created. Pioneer botanist Katherine Esau, who received the National Medal of Science for her comprehensive work on understanding the anatomy of plants, can inspire you. Throughout Dr. Esau's scientific career, she focused on phloem tissue, where she soon discovered that the virus spread along the phloem. In 1960, she began using electron microscopy in her research. Watch and chart the growth of your plants over the next several days as you focus on the anatomy of the plant and seed.
The International Women's Day celebrations focus mainly on women's rights, bringing awareness to gender equality and reproductive rights. However, we also want to recognize the women who have contributed evolve the world we live in today. It would be wonderful to honor these women during IWD and Women's History Month by creating projects. To inspire girls in STEM, we must continue to recognize and honor women in STEM!
This article was written by Rhonisha Ridgeway.