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Women's History Month + Data Science

Updated: Mar 2

March 2022

We begin March by celebrating National Women’s History Month. Join us as we reflect upon and celebrate the progress, innovation, and advances women have made in our country and the world. Since the roots of National Women’s History Month in March 1857, when women in New York City factories protested over poor working conditions, women have increased their earnings, education, and fields of occupation, yet there is still work to be done. In 2022, we hope to continue seeing movement towards equality by eliminating the gender pay gap, rejecting gender stereotypes and biases, recognizing modern women for their accomplishments, and educating the public about the revolutionary contributions of women throughout history. This month, utilize the resources we compiled to learn about some of the extraordinary and empowering women who have changed and are changing our society for the better.


The Pioneer Statistician

Read about Florence Nightingale via Science Museum.

Hospitals with no beds or blankets. Emaciated, weak and dying soldiers. Rats and fleas everywhere. When Florence Nightingale arrived with her 38-strong nursing team in the Crimea in November 1854, this was the appalling scene that greeted them. Two years later, she had developed pioneering statistical methods to convince other people that widespread reform was vital.Years before she began her formal mathematical training at the age of twelve, she had developed skills in collecting, organizing, and presenting data.

Her devotion to mathematical practice and the study of statistics drove her throughout her subsequent career in nursing and medical reform.


The First Woman to win $1M Waterman Award in Math

Read about Professor Melanie Wood via The Harvard Gazette

Recognized for her contributions in number theory, algebraic geometry, topology, Professor Melanie Wood won the Alan T. Waterman Award in 2021, becoming the first woman to win the prestigious prize in mathematics.

Wood is a Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at Harvard Radcliffe Institute.


The Woman Creating the Next Generation of Smart Medical Tools

Meet Rut Peña and her colleagues via The Wyss Institute.

"I am making history by creating the next generation of smart medical tools to enhance surgical robots and help doctors monitor metrics in real-time, empowering surgeons with data and enabling future robot-assisted medical operations."

– Rut Peña, Staff Robotics Engineer at The Wyss Institute


Grace Hopper: Programming Pioneer

Named "Woman of the Year" (1959) via TIME. Read about Grace Hopper.

Grace Hopper graduated from Yale in 1934 with a mathematics Ph.D., and her service in the U.S. Navy Reserve during World War II put her on the front lines of computer science in the 1940s. By 1959, she had helped to create and popularize COBOL, one of the first standardized computer languages. As a pioneer in programming, Hopper shaped the world of software as we know it today — and paved the way for women everywhere to thrive in math, computer science and service to their countries.


Ada Lovelace: The First Tech Visionary

Read the story of the founder of scientific computing and the first computer programmer via The New Yorker.

Ada Lovelace's algorithm – which history has come to know as the first one designed for a machine to carry out – was intended to be used for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. Although she passed away before it was built, she was a visionary who predicted that computers could do more than just process numbers.

“She was the first person to see the true potential.” – Valerie Aurora, Executive Director of the Ada Initiative.


Dame Stephanie Shirley: Why do ambitious women have flat heads?

Listen to how Dame Stephanie "Steve" Shirley founded Freelance Programmers, a software firm with innovative work practices — and (mainly) women employees via TED.

Dame Stephanie Shirley is the most successful tech entrepreneur you never heard of. In the 1960s, she founded a pioneering all-woman software company in the UK, which was ultimately valued at $3 billion, making millionaires of 70 of her team members. In this frank and often hilarious talk, she explains why she went by “Steve,” how she upended the expectations of the time, and shares some sure-fire ways to identify ambitious women.


Accenture AI Leaders Podcast Episode 16: Reflections on International Women’s Day

Listen to hear the stories and advice for the next generation of women leaders.

International Women's Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of women and a call to action for accelerating women's equality. In this episode, Samta Kapoor is joined by Asha Saxena (Founder & CEO, WLDA), Bari Harlam (Co-founder, and Ellen Nielsen (Chief Data Officer, Chevron) to discuss what this day means to them.


Kiara Nirghin on the gender divide in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

The inventor writes at the invitation of Malala Yousafzai.

Kiara Nirghin, an award-winning inventor, technologist, and author, writes an essay for International Women’s Day at the invitation of Malala Yousafzai via The Economist.


Free STEM Resources for Girls and Women Who Want to Work in Data Science, Machine Learning and AI

Read more about female underrepresentation in STEM and view resources.

Berkeley Extension explores several factors that keep women from entering STEM fields and provides girls and women with the resources to help empower them to pursue careers in these underrepresented tech fields at different ages and life stages.


Can AI Have Emotional Intelligence?

Read the Forbes Interview with Dr. Rana el Kaliouby.

Dr. Rana el Kaliouby is the author of Girl Decoded and a leading expert on technology and empathy and the ethics of AI.

In June 2021, Affectiva, the company Dr. Rana el Kaliouby co-founded, was acquired by Smart Eye. In this virtual sit-down via Forbes, learn more about what inspires Dr. el Kaliouby and how new innovations will change how we interface with technology and connect and communicate as humans.


The ENIAC Programmers: The Six Women Who Programmed the First All-Electric General-Purpose Digital Computer

Watch Kathy Kleiman share the untold story of the female programmers of the world's first modern computer via TED.

As part of a secret World War Two project, Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas and Ruth Lichterman programmed ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer)– the first programmable general-purpose electronic digital computer. These six young mathematicians not only determined how to input ENIAC programs, but also developed an understanding of ENIAC's inner workings. When the project was eventually introduced to the public in 1946, the women were never recognized or credited for their work and contributions. Click the link below to hear how Kathy Kleiman seeks to change that. Read "Long before Gates or Jobs, 6 women programmed the first digital computer" for more about these remarkable female programmers.

Programmers of the ENIAC computer (Fran Bilas, Betty Jennings, Ruth Lichterman, Kay McNulty, Betty Snyder, and Marlyn Wescoff) via U.S. Army/ARL Technical Library Archives.

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