The cool, fresh, crisp air signifies fall, and the start of many of my favorite fall activities. I recently enjoyed attending the homecoming football game at the high school where my husband teaches and chaperoning my daughter’s field trip to the apple orchard. Another one of my favorite fall activities is connecting with old and new friends at the annual SWE conference, as well as participating in the November election. I requested my absentee ballot. If you’ll be in transit or attending SWE pre-conference meetings on November 6, remember to request an absentee ballot participate in the 2012 Presidential election.
The annual SWE conference kicks off in Houston with an ice cream social and networking event on November 7. The conference will include professional development sessions for a multitude of audiences, including women in academia, women in government, undergraduate and graduate students, recent graduates, entrepreneurs, SWE leaders, emerging and senior technical professionals, and executives. The third annual Invent It. Build It. outreach event will take place at the WE12 conference, as well as recognition of SWE’s award recipients at the Achievement Awards Reception and Banquet and Celebrate SWE! Collaboration will occur throughout conference during the Lightning Talk sessions, at the Lava Lounge and with social entrepreneurs at the Engineering for Change (E4C) event. It is not too late to register for the conference, and participate in opportunities for career enhancement, make inspirational connections, and recognize outstanding individual, section and region accomplishments. WE12 registration continues online through November 5, and on-site conference registration is available after November 5.
While I look forward to the energy and opportunities of WE12, in September I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the launch of the Equal Futures Partnership. This historic event took place on September 24 with Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton, and dignitaries from the twelve founding partner countries, including presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers from countries such as Finland, Bangladesh, and Jordan. Each founding nation made specific commitments to expand women’s political and economic participation by improving conditions in one or more of the following areas: (1) science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), (2) domestic violence, (3) entrepreneurship, and (4) civic engagement. It was moving and motivational to hear the commitments made by the founding countries, as well as the President of the World Bank and a representative from the UN Women’s commission.
U.S. commitments to expand the participation of women and girls in STEM include:
- Improving data collection and dissemination, which is being led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Agriculture;
- Building a skilled mentor pool, which is being led by the Department of Energy (DOE), National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);
- Promoting research-based STEM learning, which is being led by Discovery Education; and,
- Improving access to online/mobile STEM skills training, which is being led by Connect2Compete, a nonprofit organization launched by the Federation Communications Commission (FCC), as well as NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.
The goal of the Equal Futures Partnership is “for women to participate fully in public life and to lead and benefit from inclusive economic growth” in the U.S. and around the world. Founding partners (Australia, Benin, Bangladesh, Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Jordan, the Netherlands, Peru, Senegal, and Tunisia; as well as the European Union) “will continue consultations with their national stakeholders, including civil society, to translate commitments into action.” In April 2013, the Partnership will gather again at the World Bank spring meetings to report on progress and welcome new member countries.
In addition to having the honor of representing SWE at the launch of the Equal Futures Partnership, I was honored to sit next to the 2012 Google Science fair grand prize winner, Brittany Wenger, and her mother at the event. Brittany plans to double major in computer science and biology and is primed to help women with her software tool that allows physicians to assess breast cancer tumors with a minimally-invasive procedure. Not only was I inspired by the obligations and commitments made by the Equal Futures Partnership founding countries to promote and protect women’s fundamental freedoms and human rights, I was inspired by the Google Science fair grand prize winner and her groundbreaking research.
I hope that you make the most of your inspiration connections and opportunities at the annual SWE conference, as well as take time to participate in your favorite fall activities and the upcoming Presidential election. I look forward to seeing you in Houston at WE12 for “three days of energy, and a lifetime of opportunity”.
Click for more information about the Equal Futures Partnership.
For more information on WE12, please click here.
FY13 SWE President