Women’s History Month is the perfect time for us to not only reflect on the achievements of women in STEM, but also to focus our efforts on empowering the next generation who will shape the future of innovation.
Empowering Girls in STEM
Currently, only 18 percent of patented inventors are women. While the gender gap is shrinking slowly over time, at the current rate, it could take another 118 years to reach gender parity. To accelerate progress, we must introduce more girls to the invention process, encourage their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and help them unlock their potential.
At the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), our education programs are ahead of the curve. Last year, with the help of our Invent Girl Power campaign, we raised the percentage of girls participating in our Camp Invention® program to 42 percent. Now, we want to achieve a 50/50 gender balance in our camps by 2020. By creating a gender balance in our programs, we can help all participants to see that innovation is for everyone.
In efforts to reach this 50/50 by 2020 goal, we’ve launched a new Women’s History Month campaign, Put the Power to Invent in Her Hands. As part of this campaign to drive more Camp Invention registrations among girls, we’re promoting an exciting contest!
Promoting Innovative Role Models
Each girl who is registered for a 2019 Camp Invention program using the code GIRL25POWER will be automatically entered for the chance to meet an inspiring role model in the world of innovation. When the winning camper’s name is randomly selected, her camp location will receive a visit from Dr. Arlyne Simon, biochemical engineer, patented inventor, entrepreneur and author. Each camper at the winning location will also take home a signed copy of Dr. Simon’s book, “Abby Invents Unbreakable Crayons!”
Dr. Simon has participated in NIHF’s Collegiate Inventors Competition and was featured in the NIHF Museum in 2017. Her fun and empowering book tells the story of Abby, a young girl who demonstrates perseverance and problem-solving skills as she becomes a patented inventor.
According to Dr. Simon, “As a woman or minority in science and engineering, perhaps in the beginning you may feel a little bit intimidated. At first, you may think maybe you’re just lucky. But then you realize, maybe through your parents and your peers, that you’re not lucky. You did this through hard work. You persevered, and you succeeded, so you deserve to be there just as much as they do.”
Register for Camp Invention
By connecting girls with role models like Dr. Simon, we can help them to see themselves as innovators. Research shows that early exposure to inventors and invention during childhood can increase the likelihood that a child will become an innovator. We also know that if girls were exposed to female inventors at the same rate as boys are to male inventors, the gender gap in innovation would shrink by half. Ultimately, as we introduce more girls to the invention process at Camp Invention, we will help to ensure a more diverse, inclusive and innovative future.
Give a girl in your life the opportunity to discover her own power to invent, problem solve, persevere, collaborate, design and lead.
Learn more about our Women’s History Month campaign.