Last month, we celebrated Women’s Equality Day, which was first observed on August 26, 1971 to commemorate the adoption of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the constitutional right to vote. That was (and to this day is) something big to celebrate. But we are still not living in an equal world, and many girls, especially BIPOC girls and gender expansive youth, are being left behind, left out, and told that they don’t belong.
I know firsthand what it feels like to be the only Black woman in the room. I’ve had to navigate classrooms, workspaces, and events where I seldom found colleagues who looked like me or shared my background and experiences. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, but I’m still searching for that equal world our ancestors and the generations before us fought so hard to achieve. To me, equality is not something that just happens, it’s taught, it’s fought for, and it’s something we constantly need to work to maintain.
I believe we can achieve this.
Women and girls* face barriers everyday. Observing Women’s Equality Day shouldn’t just mark one day that we forget about until next year, but should be something we stand up for, celebrate, and live each and every day. For our society to evolve, all women and girls* must be protected and empowered by our laws, and treated as equals who belong.
At Techbridge Girls, we believe that STEM is more than just a collection of subjects, but a critical part of humanity’s connection to one another and the world around us. Although women make up half of all workers with postsecondary degrees, only about 25% of workers in STEM fields are women. True equality in STEM is where girls and gender expansive youth that experience girlhood thrive across all STEM disciplines, with role models and supportive communities that enable them to succeed. Everyday we see the brilliance, the boldness, and the resilience of our girls*. They—their educators and their caregivers—are our inspiration as we continue to show the world what BIPOC girls are capable of.
I hope to live in a world where Women’s Equality Day isn’t just a day that passes by once a year, but is a concept ingrained into the fabric of our workplaces and classrooms, and is a part of our DNA as a society, something we live and breathe. Organizations and individuals like Techbridge Girls and the community around us, are dedicated to working towards a more equitable STEM world. We hope to keep growing our army of girls* to fight in the STEM revolution.
Remember, we have millions of girls* ready to carry the torch.
* Techbridge Girls (TBG) serves Black, Indigenous, and all girls of color, which includes cis girls, trans youth, gender non-conforming, and/or non-binary youth who experience(d) girlhood and economic insecurity as a part of their journey.