FIRST THOUGHT: Are You Following Women in Tech?
A while ago, I set up a Google Alert on my computer for the phrase “women in tech.” I am, quite frankly, astounded at the results. Dozens of articles are on the web about this subject matter. More women in tech in the news? Yes, please! But here’s the thing: For every one inspiring story, there are nine about the challenges women in tech face that’ll leave you in a dismal state. I’ve found the best way to really get to know what’s going on in this industry is by connecting with women working in tech directly. For starters, there’s an excellent list of 100 ladies in the tech field you should definitely follow on Twitter, but we want to hear from you too. Who should we follow? Let us know @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: More Than 460,000
You ready for some tech positivity? A nonprofit called FIRST, which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, has helped inspire tons of girls to become the science and technology innovators of tomorrow by fostering education about robotics. Robotics is an interdisciplinary field that combines computer science with mechanical and electrical engineering, and, of course, incorporates some really cool gadgetry. FIRST has sparked a movement, and now has more than 460,000 students participating in its tech-based programs.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Simone Giertz, Inventor and Professional YouTuber
One reason why kids have a growing interest in technology is, well, of course, they’re surrounded by it these days. But many kids, especially young girls, are drawn to tech because they see women doing some seriously awesome stuff with it. One such innovative lady is Simone Giertz, a Swedish-born inventor and a true pioneer who’s proving the field of robotics is not only accessible, it can be hilarious too!
Viewers devour her YouTube channel, Simone’s Robots, which combines her STEM chops with zany and sidesplitting dialogue. Here’s the best part: In order to make her programming more accessible to viewers, Simone ensures her contraptions work terribly—to spectacularly funny results. After all, she is the self-proclaimed queen of terrible robots!
Simone’s first invention was a gloriously ridiculous toothbrush helmet meant to demonstrate how electronics can aid in everyday life activities. After a clip of her invention was uploaded to YouTube, Simone discovered an affinity for sharing her shoddy robots through the online platform, and before she knew it, she was a YouTube star.
Trust me, you will spend hours watching one video after another of Simone’s amusing inventions. One of her most popular is the Wake-up Machine, a robot that slaps the user awake in lieu of an alarm clock. In one particularly silly appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Simone has the host test some of her wacky inventions, including the toothbrush helmet and her lipstick-applicator robot, which leads to hilarity—and a beautifully red-lipstick-smeared TV host!
I love that Simone isn’t afraid of showing her failures. In fact, that’s what Simone’s Robots is all about. She documents the many flaws that come from inventing something new. Whether you’re 12 or 112, seeing someone accept mistakes and failures with such optimism is downright infectious. Simone will motivate you to start creating, and when your invention doesn’t turn out right the first time—or even the 10th time—this mistress of malfunction will inspire you to try, try and try again. After all, as Simone proves time and again, failure is simply a stepping-stone to success!
QUITE THE QUOTE
With Simone Giertz in mind, today’s quote comes from the co-founder of tech organization Women 2.0, Shaherose Charania, who said:
“Women no longer have an ‘if I can’ mindset. Now it’s more about ‘how I can’—be in tech, start something in tech, fund something in tech. That shift is exciting!”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.