short answer: because it’s 2016????
The beautiful woman above is Hedy Lamarr. She was an A-list actress in the early 20th century known for her racy films, and her roles as an stereotypical ‘exotic’ seductress from Eastern Europe. She married the 3rd wealthiest man in Austria, where she was originally from, at the age of 19. In fact, she married (and divorced) six times, the last time to her own divorce lawyer.
What a floozy, right? Actually, she was a f-cking bada$$.
Hedy was Jewish by birth (her mother later converted to Catholicism) in the Sound of Music-era Austria. That rich first husband of hers held lavish parties for Hilter and Mussolini, and sold armaments to them. She escaped him by disguising herself as her maid. When WWII broke out, she used her influence to rescue her mother from Nazi dominated Europe.
But this isn’t all that makes the baddest b!tch out of the Balkan region. Hedy said, “Jack Kennedy always said to me, Hedy, get involved. That’s the secret of life. Try everything. Join everything. Meet everybody.” She did, in a major way. After the outbreak of WWII, she wanted to help with the war effort. However, Hedy was told that instead of assisting with the technology behind the war, she should sell war bonds. They seemed to think she wouldn’t be able to help through scientific inventions.
They were right. Her scientific invention didn’t help the Allies win WWII.
It was only used in US Navy ships of the Cuban Missile Crisis-era. Today, it’s practically useless – it’s just in spread-spectrum communication technology, namely Bluetooth, GPS, cell phones, and Wi-Fi. The point is, Hedy’s case is just one example of the great things incredible women can do in STEM, if only given the chance. Hell, Hedy was never given the chance, and she still invented a brilliant piece of technology that we still use today.
Despite the achievements of Hedy Lamarr and many others, women are still severely underrepresented in STEM. Only one in seven engineers is female. An overwhelming 73% percent of computer science degrees are held by men. It simply amazes me that here, in 2016, women do not see science, technology, engineering, or math as possibilities for their futures, and that STEM careers still carry the stigma of being ‘unfeminine’ or ‘only for men’. So even as we celebrate and encourage #WomenInSTEM, we need to remember – why are we even having this conversation in the first place?