As part of Schneider Electric, an Impact Company, at Wiser we're comitted to a holistic approach to sustainability. That means not only focusing on reducing our carbon emissions, but taking action to foster a better future for all in many different ways. Celebrating women's achievements on International Women's Day doesn't just improve gender equality and benefits the lives of people across the world, it's great for the planet too as we'll explain.
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What is International Women’s Day?
Today, Tuesday 8th March, marks International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022. It’s a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, and serves as a call to action for accelerating women's equality.
Having started in 1911 with a gathering of over a million people, IWD has been celebrated worldwide for well over a century.
The theme of IWD 2022 is #BreakTheBias, encouraging communities, workplaces, schools, colleges and universities around the world to call out and reject gender discrimination, combating the deliberate or unconscious bias that makes it difficult for women to progress.
Gender Inclusivity and Sustainability
Gender Equality is Goal 5 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals – To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
The benefits of gender equality are numerous, including:
- Increased GDP, reduced poverty and a boosted economy by more women in the workplace, more women in senior positions and the closing of gender pay gaps.
- Research shows diversity and inclusivity in the workplace is more economically productive.
- Reduced violence against women.
- Improved mental health for both women and men.
- Better knowledge of environmental impact of human activities is gained when women who rely on ecosystems are included in impact discussions.
- More girls in education means fewer are forced into marriage and starting families young, giving them more options to live healthier, happier lives and contribute to their communities and environment.
- Better education for women allows more reproductive choices, reduces infant mortality and improves the opportunities they can offer their children, and their children’s children.
- Gender equality benefits men too, by enabling more freedom as to how men express themselves and so eliminating pressure to fit a stereotype, an effect often referred to as ‘toxic masculinity’ which is harmful to both men and women.
Women in Technology Through History
There are far too many great women in the world’s history of technology to name here, but let’s look at 3 incredible women who overcame the gender bias challenges of their day to develop vital technology that most of use today.
Dedicated mathematician, Katherine Johnson (born 1918), spent her entire career teaching or performing technical calculations, a difficult profession for African-Americans, especially women, to enter at the time.
She pioneered the use of digital computers at NASA during her 33-year career there, calculated the trajectory for the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon where Neil Armstrong would utter those famous words “One giant leap for mankind”, and worked on emergency backup procedures and charts that helped the stricken Apollo 13 crew return home safely. Whilst sadly receiving no mention in the blockbuster film, Apollo 13 (1995), the story of Johnson’s team of extraordinary women at NASA is told in Hidden Figures (2016).
The multi-talented actress and inventor, Hedy Lamarr (born 1914), became a Hollywood star before turning her hand to technology during World War II, by asking composer George Antheil to assist her in developing a radio guidance system for the US Navy which would prevent allied torpedo systems from becoming jammed by enemy forces.
It wasn’t until the Cuban Missile Crisis in the ‘60s that the US Navy finally adopted Lamarr and Antheil’s technology, but their work formed the foundation of Bluetooth and GPS technology, so our recently launched Bluetooth-enabled Digistat has a lot to thank Hedy Lamarr for!
Have a hybrid or fully electric vehicle? The battery technology under the bonnet is in part down to the hard work of this woman.
Born in Alabama in 1933, Annie Easley initially trained in pharmaceuticals, but after a move to Ohio she entered the aeronautical industry at NACA (which would later become NASA), developing and implementing code which led to the development of electric and hybrid car batteries. She continued to make a name for herself through encouraging women and people of colour to study and enter STEM careers.
Empowered Women of Drayton
Drayton, as part of Schneider Electric and the brand behind Wiser, is committed to rejecting gender bias in all its working practices, empowering women to progress and succeed in their field through true gender equality.
Here are just a few of the many women that have been contributed to the success of our brand and products, like Wiser heating controls.
Women In Industry Day – STEM at Drayton
To us, sustainability isn’t just about reducing emissions. In line with the UN’s sustainability goals, diversity and inclusivity are key to a sustainable future. In November 2021, Drayton’s STEM ambassador team welcomed eight female students from Mount Kelly School in Tavistock to our Plymouth site to find out more about smart home technology, our career development opportunities at Drayton, have a tour of our factory, and take part in practical STEM activities to challenge their product design, branding and even their bridge-building skills.
(Above) Students received a tour of our Plymouth factory, demonstrating our injection moulding facilities, assembly lines, the automated technology that keeps the plant running safely and efficiently, and meeting the members of staff who develop amd optimise our manufacturing processes.
(Above) Our branding task involved the students coming up with branding, messaging and instructions for their own brand of smart thermostat, and presenting it to our STEM ambassador panel. Great to see the theme of sustainability and diversity as being important factors in the engineers and leaders of tomorrow, and demonstrating how art and design marries up with engineering and marketing.
(Above) The students were challenged to construct a bridge sturdy enough for our remote-controlled, extra mini Mini Cooper to drive over, using reused materials from our site.
(Above) Members of our STEM ambassador team continue to organise and host engaging events through the year that encourage young people, especially girls, to persue education and fulfilling careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.
As an Impact Company, we believe in encouraging the next generation of women in technology, an area where many young women can still feel out of place, or that there will barriers to their success, due to the bias that still exists in society. We’re helping to #BreakTheBias with inclusive hiring, equal opportunities for advancement for women in technology and management, and ensuring our female employees continue to be a key part of our development and decisions.
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