Wanted, or Needed?By Karla Cedano | Tue, 02/22/2022 - 11:00
It's funny how, even though we all live on the same planet, we inhabit different worlds. Let me tell you what the world I live in has been like.
In my world, when I cried in the car during a thunderstorm as a child, my parents didn't comfort me by telling me that the lightning was “heaven taking a picture of me for being so pretty.” My father explained to me how, thanks to a kite, Benjamin Franklin had understood lightning and invented the lightning rod while he was studying electricity, "that same electricity that makes the TV work," he told me.
From a very young age, when I heard noises at night, there were no "spirits," "ghosts," or "fairies," there were branches, beams, pipes, wind flowing under the doors or someone in the family sneaking into the kitchen for a snack. The spots in the day or night sky were not extraterrestrial spacecraft, they were unidentified flying objects (UFOs), but earthly, person-made objects. I remember that once we followed a Chinese paper lantern in the dark, which before clearly identifying it, had already stirred the imagination of my cousins and my rational-driven curiosity.
The key to this world is held by the communicators and popularizers of science and technology. That fantastic group made up of parents, teachers, friends, journalists, and academics, who have given themselves the task of fighting ignorance as in a great game of "Marathon." Thanks to them, we know that the pyramids were built by our ancestors, guided by their intelligence, their tenacity, their perseverance; human beings motivated to perform "superhuman" feats, which transcended their ephemeral lives and meager individual strength.
I was a very lucky girl, who had the privilege to be part of a family who opened doors for me and my brother, to embrace any field of knowledge without a gender bias. We hear every day, especially on certain appointed dates, like the International Day of Girls and Women in Science, that women from all ages are wanted in science and engineering. Well, the reality is that we all NEED more women. Gender equality is not a matter of desire, or “giving women a chance,” it is a matter of justice, of necessity, of survival.
As time passes, more and more women are demanding services and products designed for women, provided by women, maintained by women. The challenge we are all facing is to open spaces and opportunities to girls and women in the scientific and technological arenas. Women need (not want) fellow women engineers who can relate to our experience to have better-suited products and services. And the only way to get there is to promote intense, year-round campaigns for training and recruiting women, as well as engaging in activities for opening the eyes and interests of young women and girls.
We need more women in all the fields of science and technology, and we need them NOW.