Women in STEAM: New Ways of Thinking, Working & Creating

Lauren Xandra
Mar 4 · 4 min read

Introducing a new not-for-profit initiative furthering STEAM (stem + arts) education and equality, launching International Women’s Day 2020.

Illustrations by VictorItUp

Automation and AI can bring tremendous gain to the economy, and to society more broadly, if these technologies are used to tackle major issues such as fighting disease and tackling climate change. But they also signal a massive shift in the skills that we will need in the workplace of the future.

Two in three of today’s kids in schools will end up in jobs that don’t exist yet — ones tied to technology and its advancement, that rely upon creativity, critical thinking and ingenuity to move the needle.

In fact, a recent Harvard Business Review report zeroing in how skill requirements could change by 2030 highlights the magnitude: more than one in three workers may need to adapt their skills’ mix by 2030, which is more than double the number who could be displaced by automation — and lifelong learning of new skills will be essential for all. Demand for advanced technological skills, such as coding and programming, will rise by 55% in 2030 — followed by a rising need for social and emotional skills, and higher cognitive skills such as creativity and complex problem solving, which machines are still far from capable of (+24%).

With emerging technologies evolving at exponential rates, it’s more important than ever to ask who our innovations are for, how they can offer value to end users, and what values they are re-enforcing.

Illustrations by VictorItUp

A recent study from AI Now, a research group at New York University, suggests that a lack of diversity among the people who create AI and in the data they use to train it has created shortcomings in the technology. Many researchers have demonstrated how bias in AI systems reflect historical patterns of discrimination, such as how Voice Assistants struggle to recognize English as a Second Language accents, or how facial recognition performs best for white male speakers.

Increasing the number of, and visibility of, women and minorities with disruptive skills, and re-skilling and up-skilling underrepresented populations is critical to a more inclusive future. According to LinkedIn data, currently, women only make up one-third of the skill base for disruptive technology, where we see the biggest employment boom. The top 5 Emerging Jobs in 2020 are all hugely reliant upon these skills: AI Specialist (74% annual growth), Robotics Engineer, Data Scientist, Full Stack Engineer and a Site Reliability Engineer.

Further, the road to gender parity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution can combat headwinds to innovation. The World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2020 highlights how research on labor market segregation along gendered lines has revealed: 1) lower innovation levels on professions which lack gender diversity, 2) a compounding effect on gender pay gaps, and 3) a continued trend, as preferences for certain jobs and skill sets are shaped by both the expectation and lived experience of diversity and inclusion there.

That’s why we’re creating Women in STEAM, rooted in a shared goal of investing in future female leaders.

Illustrations by VictorItUp

Through advocacy, curated conversations with industry thought leaders, skill-building workshops and more, we’re cultivating an ecosystem of inventive, ambitious women who support women.

We’re overjoyed to launch Women in STEAM on March 8th, International Women’s Day through a sold-out event, with 100% of proceeds supporting WomenOfAI.org, a global non-profit creating women leaders of AI, with 10,000 members in 10 countries. We are now upping a final round of additional tickets to support demand from the community.

Our launch event is held in partnership with some of the most forward-thinking organizations on the block — AI LA and Women in Tech Hollywood — and will feature leading female speakers: Eve Psalti, Head of Strategic Platforms, Google and Maria Alvarez, General Manager, Artificial Intelligence & Research Division, Microsoft. Attendees will experience an immersive augmented reality art installation by Nancy Baker Cahill, recent Facebook Artist-in-Residence, profiled as one of LA Times’ Faces of 2019, as well as a performance by Tiffany Trenda and illustrations by VictorItUp. Our inaugural launch is made possible by the generous support of research and engineering leaders: The National Research Group and Microsoft, who will be sharing hiring opportunities with the community.

Join our movement.

Visit: www.womeninsteam.community

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/women-in-steam

Instagram: @women.in.steam

Pictured: Founders Ashley Navid and Lauren Xandra. Ashley is a designer with a multidisciplinary practice spanning interiors, experiential and production. Lauren works with the world’s most powerful creators and technologists on research and strategy initiatives. Together, they’re passionate about moving the needle for women everywhere in STEAM.

Women in STEAM

Lauren Xandra

Written by

Content x Culture x Technology. Vice President, National Research Group. Co-Founder, Women in STEAM.

Women in STEAM

A new not-for-profit initiative furthering STEAM (stem + arts) education and equality, launching International Women’s Day 2020

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