To celebrate and expand the social, economic and political achievements of women, Mayor Greg Stanton proclaimed Tuesday, March 8, International Women’s Day in Phoenix.
Stanton’s proclamation is a springboard for discussion and action among local leaders who want to help close the gender gap – especially in science, technology, engineering and math fields. International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide on Tuesday, and the theme this year is #PledgeForParity.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that more than half – 57 percent – of the nation’s workforce is women, though women hold only 26 percent of professional computing jobs. And those numbers shrink at executive levels: only 6 percent of Chief Information Officer positions were held by women in 2014.
“International Women’s Day is an opportunity for our community to celebrate the progress of women, and also to look at what work still needs to be done to ensure gender equality,” Stanton said. “As we work together to grow our regional tech sector, we must also make sure we’re creating an environment that supports women in those STEM jobs.”
Phoenix’s effort to bring awareness to International Women’s Day drew praise from thought-leader and entrepreneur Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post.
“Cities around the world should join Phoenix on International Women’s Day to send the message that we won’t accept anything less than equality for women in the workplace on this day – or any other day,” Huffington said.
Throughout the Valley, leaders in the innovation sector are taking action to support women.
Under the leadership of President and CEO Chevy Humphrey, the Arizona Science Center recently hosted an event for fourth through eighth grade girls to motivate them to pursue careers in STEM.
“Arizona Science Center inspires, educates and engages curious minds through science and provides the necessary tools to support women in becoming our tech leaders of the future,” Humphrey said. “When women succeed, their communities and companies succeed. Science literacy closes the gender gap to provide equal opportunity for all.”
Vice Mayor Kate Gallego has also made women’s issues a priority during her time on the council, including spearheading the city’s efforts on equal pay.
“As the leader of the effort to pass an Equal Pay Ordinance in Phoenix, I know how much work is left to be done to close the gender gap in our economy,” Gallego said. “As someone with an MBA in Entrepreneurship, I’ve seen firsthand the innovation that female entrepreneurs are waiting to unleash in our economy, particularly in STEM fields. This International Women’s Day, we should all recognize that the more we bring down barriers for women in our economy, the more we all prosper.”
A number of organizations in greater Phoenix have created original programming, or are collaborating to offer events specifically targeted at women in STEM and entrepreneurship.
Upcoming Events for Women in STEM include:
Empower Hour: Use Your Voice to Engender Change
Mar. 8 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Webinar and Online Workshop
Axosoft, an Arizona based software company and creator of the viral #ItWasNeverADress campaign, is hosting a free webinar and creative writing workshop to celebrate women for the superheroes they are every single day. Award-winning author Tania Katan and content strategist Trist Sobeck will lead the session.
The hour-long online event will engage participants with fun writing exercises that focus on seeing, listening, being agile and celebrating fellow humans in the workplace. This event is free and open to everyone. No writing experience is necessary.
Register for the webinar and workshop and get more information online at: http://bit.ly/IWD_2016
Arizona Women’s Education and Entrepreneur (AWEE) Center
Women Empowering Women
Mar. 10 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Phoenix College Downtown Campus
This group is designed for startups and established business owners to connect, network and share ideas and resources. It is part of a series of AWEE’s programs that support the growth and development of women entrepreneurs and small business owners.
More information, including a calendar of events and workshops is online at http://aweecenter.org/events/
Girls in Tech
Apr. 17 through 19 at Hotel Palomar
Downtown Phoenix is welcoming Girls in Tech and their annual Catalyst Conference back for the second year in a row. The global non-profit created the conference in Silicon Valley to give women a platform to have conversations about gender diversity in technology, as well as a chance to learn from and network with female tech executives.
Speakers include executives from notable tech companies including Autodesk, IBM, Axosoft, Esurance, Salesforce, Re/Code, PayPal and more.
Full list of speakers and ticket information is available at: http://phoenix.catalyst.girlsintech.org/
Arizona State University’s Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology
Tribal College Convening and Native American Women in STEM
Dine College and ASU’s Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST) will convene 37 Tribal College presidents for a two-day meeting to identify strategies to support and remove barriers for Native American women in STEM.
Women of Color and STEM Entrepreneurship Conference
May 20 through 22
The National STEM Collaborative is co-hosting this two-day conference with ASU’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the School of Earth and Space Exploration, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and the Project on Race and Gender in Science and Medicine, and the Hutchins Center for African American Research at Harvard University. The conference will offer a series of workshops and educational sessions focused on increasing participation of women of color in entrepreneurship and STEM, and to change the way entrepreneurship is viewed, taught and experienced in higher education.
More information about the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology, including a calendar of events is online at https://cgest.asu.edu/.