"Educating Our Daughters: Preparing Female Students to Become 21st Century Leaders”: Gates Foundation Deputy Director, Postsecondary Success Suzanne Walsh moderated this symposium at the Women of Power Summit in which panelists Kimberly Bryant, executive director of Black Girls Code; Beverly Daniel Tatum, president of Spelman College; Sandra Finley, CEO of the League of Black Women; and Ella Edmondson Bell, president of ASCENT, discussed how to increase the number of young black women in STEM fields.
Walsh: "African American women represent 5.2% of all bachelor's degrees in STEM fields…Master's goes down to 4.8%…doctoral degrees 2.9%. Women account for just 2% of all employed scientists and engineers. This is troubling. How can we stop that decline going through the pathway?"
Bryant: "[It] is not just about creating girls who are highly, technically adept but we’re really teaching self-confidence because we know for a long, long time it’s going to take us a while to really shift that [STEM] needle."
Tatum: "I'm often asked why is there so much success at Spelman in the sciences? I often say it is because of the sisterhood…You have that built-in support system that allows you propel even further and persist."
Bell: "You'll see a white male in his lab is all set up. They won't give a minority woman in her lab the same resources. You got to have a sponsor that can help you pipeline and who is really connected to resources."
More than 200 people attended the "Educating Our Daughters" session to discover the state of young black women in science and technology.
A Woman of Power attendee asks the panel how audience members can encourage more African American female students to embrace STEM fields.
Walsh shares a moment with the HBCU students who attended the symposium and Thought Leaders Dinner at WPS. The input from these young women proved invaluable in the development of strategies focused on talent development, sponsorship and college financing, among others.
Meet NextGen STEM: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation brought an impressive group of HBCU scholars in the fields of science, technology and media to the Women of Power Summit in order to gain information and inspiration.
At the Thought Leaders Dinner, Black Enterprise CEO Earl "Butch" Graves, Jr. challenged guests to find new solutions to the education achievement gap by employing collaboration and innovation.
Roughly 50 attendees of the Black Enterprise/Gates Foundation Thought Leaders Dinner made year-long commitments to expand the STEM pipeline using mentorship and philanthropic initiatives.