Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? In 1975, the United Nations recognized International Women’s Day on March 8th. This happened after a global movement of women demanding that women be recognized for their historical achievements like women’s rights, inventions that changed the world, and pioneering new fields. Two years later, the UN deemed it an international holiday. In 1980, the week of March 8th was declared as National Women’s History Week by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. This week-long event evolved into a month-long celebration of women who shaped America into what it is today.
Celebrating Women’s History Month is important because most of history is only about men because it is mostly written by men. Because of that, the women who have made a difference are forgotten about. As wisely stated in The Wise Channel’s Women’s History feature, “Not all of HIStory is the WHOLE story.”
There are a lot of ways you can celebrate Women’s History Month. Some people write and sing their own songs to celebrate women today and throughout history for the work they have done to make the world a better place, like Miss Jessica. Newspapers like The Sacramento Bee might produce a special feature honoring women throughout history.
How will you celebrate Women’s History Month? You could choose to read a book about women’s historical achievements. Perhaps you could visit a museum to learn about women in history with an adult in your life. Maybe you can make a craft in honor of pioneering women like Sally Ride and Mae C. Jemison. Or send a thank you note to a strong woman in your life like a teacher, librarian, doctor, or even an engineer you know.
Ready to be inspired? Check out these books about women who made history and how girls like you can make a difference, too!
- Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
- Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
- Fantastically Great Women Who Made History by Kate Pankhurst
- Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History… and Our Future! by Kate Schatz
- Like a Girl by Lori Degman
- Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Rebel Girls
- Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World by Katherine Halligan
- Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Did you know that Women’s History Month has a different theme each year? The 2022 theme is “Women Providing Healing and Promoting Hope.” Read on to learn about some female engineers who are doing just that and continuing to make “herstory!”
Nimmi Ramanujam is a professor of biomedical engineering at Duke University and at the Global Health Institute and is also the director of the Center of Global Women’s Health Technologies. Her research focuses on women’s cancers, as she has developed numerous imaging and therapeutic technologies for cancer and has founded two companies centered on these technologies. She has many patents and publications on her research on cancer screenings and surgery. She is a strong promoter of equal opportunities for all, as she aims to make her treatment more accessible for those in low-resource settings worldwide and believes in the positive effect of immigration on scientific growth in America. Learn more about the medical technology she developed here.
Mary Barra has been the CEO of General Motors (GM) since 2014. She is the first CEO of a major automaker; she began working at GM as a co-op student while studying towards an electrical engineering degree, and she rose and served several ranks before becoming the CEO. She is a strong advocate for the automotive goal of zero crashes and zero emissions to build a safer environment for upcoming generations. Read more about how she is transforming the auto industry here.
Heather Doty is currently a project engineer at Ball Aerospace in Colorado. She has supported numerous efforts ranging from new business ventures to hiring to environmental testing and more. She is a senior life member of SWE and has served in multiple SWE leadership positions. Most recently, she was the SWE President during the fiscal year of 2021. She became SWE president in mid-2020, a time full of uncertainty and national challenges; yet, she was resilient and quick to adapt to the requirements of the time. During her presidency, she led amazing new efforts to improve the state of diversity on the board of directors and within the SWE community. Check out this SWE interview with her here to learn about more of her work with SWE.
Erin Hughes is one of three female engineers who co-founded the organization “Solidarity Engineering” to support those living at a migrant camp in Metamoros. She studied environmental engineering at Drexel University and worked in the field for ten years before becoming the lead engineer of “Solidarity Engineering.” Upon hearing in 2019 of the illnesses and challenges people were faced with due to contaminated water at the migrant camp, Erin decided to make better use of her knowledge of water treatment and stormwater management by helping the camp inhabitants. She has helped dig drainage channels, construct showers, and much more. You can learn more about the work of “Solidarity Engineering” and the amazing team behind it here.
Ranu Jung is a professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Florida International University. She develops technologies that focus on the recovery of lost neurological functions using computational models in prosthetic systems. She was among the earliest engineers to merge the disciplines of electronics, communications, neuroscience, and technology in an effort to restore touch sensations for amputees and help them live independently. She is very optimistic of the future of diversity in engineering and advises prospective female engineers to be persistent and take risks. Learn more about her research advancements in neural technology here.