On February 11, 2024, as the world observes the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we highlight the significant contributions made by women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Implemented by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations - Women, in collaboration with civil society partners and institutions, this occasion aims to promote women and girls' full and equal access and participation in science and technology communities. This year's general assembly focuses on the three pillars of Sustainable Development: economic prosperity, social justice, and environmental integrity.
In this celebration, we explore the journey of Abigail Walton, a thermal management engineer at Vertiv, as an example of individual achievement and a representation of the broader efforts toward gender equality in STEM fields.
Unveiling Stories of Resilience
The path for women in STEM often involves challenges like gender stereotypes, double standards, and a lack of representation. Abigail Walton, a trailblazer in the field, faced these challenges and used her experiences to propel her forward.
"It's crucial to have women's representation, especially those who embrace their femininity," Walton emphasizes. "They should be visible to show younger girls that they don't need to compromise who they are to succeed in their chosen fields."
Addressing existing underrepresentation and advancing gender equality in STEM fields is not only essential for growth and innovation but is also an economic necessity. In Europe, for example, doubling the number of women in tech to 45 percent, or an estimated 3.9 million more women by 2027, could boost GDP by as much as €260 billion to €600 billion, as highlighted by Sven Blumberg, Melanie Krawina, Elina Mäkelä, and Henning Soller.
A Message to Aspiring Young Minds
In an environment with judgments and limitations, Abigail inspires young women aspiring to pursue STEM careers. "It's not about conforming to stereotypes or standards; it's about staying true to yourself and your capabilities," she states. Her words highlight the importance of individuality and meritocracy.
The mandate is clear: for the future of STEM to be more equitable and diverse, the narrative must evolve. Women like Abigail, forging less-trodden paths, shape their destinies and those of the generations to follow.
Emphasizing the Collective Mission
Individual stories are powerful, and their significance is magnified when woven into the STEM community's collective fabric. By combining diverse experiences, we bring empathy, innovation, and unconventional perspectives to the scientific arena.
Women play a crucial role in this effort by offering their expertise and viewpoints, contributing to advancements in the technological fields, and participating in discussions and decision-making processes that shape our future. As Abigail points out, "It's hard to push through hard things when doing it just for yourself. But when you have a bigger purpose and reason behind it, facing discouragement makes it easier. "
Walking the Talk
Our focus on women in STEM is an investment in the future. Efforts to inspire, mentor, and support young women scientists and engineers are like sowing seeds for a landscape of possibility and progress. We at Vertiv embrace the challenge with the understanding that our success is tied to the progress achieved by women in STEM within our organization.
In collaboration with Infrastructure Masons (iMasons) and JASON, Vertiv takes a significant step toward creating equal opportunities. As one of its ambassadors, Abigail Walton exemplifies the initiative's commitment to bridging the gender gap in STEM through equal access to education.
Furthermore, as a corporate member of iMasons, Vertiv actively participates in the nonprofit's learning initiative with JASON, an independent nonprofit providing STEM curriculum and learning experiences for students and professional development for teachers.
Video 1. Abigail Walton sheds light on the critical role of data centers today and shares an empowering message to young women aspiring to join the field. Video courtesy of JASON Learning.
This project aims to raise awareness about the data center industry and build interest in related careers, starting at the high school level. Vertiv will contribute by developing a data center learning module on data center cooling and power infrastructure for the engineering discipline, which will become part of the JASON Learning curricula, an award-winning curriculum available at jason.org. Importantly, Vertiv will gift 1,000 JASON accounts to students worldwide, providing access to a wide range of JASON STEM content.
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is a reminder of the importance of empowering and supporting women in STEM, championing diversity, inclusivity, and gender equality for sustainable and equitable development. By highlighting individual stories such as Abigail Walton's journey, we aim to inspire the next generation of diverse and talented thinkers. private sector
Let's celebrate and uplift the contributions of women in STEM each day with optimism and enthusiasm. Doing so can create a brighter future where every woman and girl has equal opportunities to pursue their dreams and make groundbreaking discoveries in science and technology.