When it comes to careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, women in particular aren’t given an equal platform to demonstrate their intellectual prowess. They are often subjugated to the No. 2 position, as French physicist and chemist Marie Curie was initially placed in her day, and rarely renowned as the team leader and innovator.
In November, I was invited to participate in a live online chat about women and technology sponsored by the Poynter Institute, a school that helps working journalists hone their craft. The purpose of the chat was to discuss the coverage of women by a popular tech driven magazine that controversially featured a woman’s cleavage on the cover to highlight the advancements in tissue regeneration for postmastectomy patients. After listening to the concerns about the coverage of women in STEM, I felt black enterprise should take a more investigative look at the achievements of black women in these respective fields.
Moving black America into the digital mainstream is an important goal here at black enterprise. It’s an area where we’re sadly underrepresented when you consider that African Americans comprise an insignificant percentage of founding staffs for Internet companies, and we earn just 2.6% and 4.14% of Ph.D.s in computer science and engineering, respectively.
In “Women in STEM,” we highlight five women who have attained unparalleled professional advancement, groundbreaking discoveries, and peer recognition. However, with all their successes, it’s their work beyond science and technology that distinguished them from the rest—their commitment to encouraging more people of color to enter their fields is inspiring the next generation of African Americans to pursue the sciences. For example, as a member of Blacks in Gaming, computer animator Lisette Titre helped launch a mentoring program for middle school students in Oakland, California, and chemical oceanographer Ashanti Johnson runs the Institute for Broadening Participation to help minorities achieve their academic and career goals.
The technology and innovation theme runs through other stories in this issue. In “Let Us Upgrade You,” we highlight tech upgrades that small businesses need to make in order to stay competitive. This includes tips from our experts on how to utilize cloud storage solutions, quick response codes, smartphones, and customer relationship management (CRM) databases. The Money department also takes a look at online and mobile tools for better investment returns, and Tech features new gadgets to propel your business and your career ahead of the competition.
Because the technology landscape is evolving quickly, ignoring the call to innovate can mean extinction. Think of this issue as your roadmap to survival.