International Women's Day

On International Women’s Day: Take Bold Action.

On International Women’s Day: Take Bold Action.
If we don’t, who will?
 
Six pioneering women scientists will be immortalized by LEGO as a new set of mini figures. The Women of NASA figures include mathematician and space scientist Katherine Johnson (of the film Hidden Figures fame, known for her work on the Apollo and Mercury programs in the 1960s), computer scientist Margaret Hamilton (who worked on the Apollo missions in the 1960s), astronaut and physician Mae Jemison (who became the first African American woman to travel in space on the Endeavor in 1992), astronomer Nancy Grace Roman (the first woman executive at NASA, also known as the “Mother of Hubble” for her work on the telescope) and astronaut and physicist Sally Ride, (the first woman astronaut in 1983).
 
The thought behind the Women of NASA series is noble: to present children with female role models in the fields of STEM (science technology, engineering and mathematics). But are these historic contributions of women pioneers enough to encourage girls into science? Will they help propel women into positions of scientific leadership? It seems to us that continued and visible recognition of the achievements that women routinely make in the sciences are what’s needed if girls and women are to be attracted to the field.
 
In November, 500 women scientists signed a letter saying that “Across the globe, women in science face discrimination, unequal pay, and reduced opportunities,” citing an era of anti-science and misinformation. Read the full letter here. These women scientists call for action to “increase diversity in science and other disciplines” and pledge to:
 

What do China, Japan and the US have in Common?

 
Happy International Women's Day. We want to celebrate the occasion by bringing you this news: France has overtaken the United States' lead role in the number of women serving on the boards of Fortune Global 100 companies -- France 25.1%, US 20.9%, according to a Corporate Women Directors International study.
 
If that's not bad enough, the US joins China and Japan in having the lowest rate of women-held board seats among Fortune 200 companies, according to the International Business Times. Gee, China and Japan are not known for their women- friendly policies. That's some strange company we're keeping.
 
It's true that France's leap in women-held board seats is due to government-mandated quotas, but in just two years the number of women directors has doubled and their 2014 targets have already been met.
 
We don't advocate quotas. We think that American companies should do the right thing and diversify their boards on their own. We've even given them a benchmark: 20% or more by 2020. It doesn't seem like a lot to ask.
 
The US might learn a thing or two from Finland, where women now hold 22% of the board seats. They didn't need quotas to get there. Instead, they took the initiative themselves and put into place diversity oversight.
 
We encourage US companies to find and add women to the boards. Qualified women are ready to serve.

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