My idea for the 'Wondrous Wahine' design came from my experience working in Ecommerce these past 10 years (omg 10 yearsss?!), taking on various roles from buyer, to manager and eventually director. My job entailed wearing many hats for the businesses that employed me, from managing online sales & inventory, to creating digital marketing strategies, on-site optimization, user experience and front end web design.
One thing I slowly started to notice as years passed working in my role, was the lack of gender diversity in my field. I worked with a lot of third-party technology vendors to explore web products, and nearly every person I connected with was male. Don't get me wrong, I created great relationships with all my colleagues along the way, some of who remain my closest friends and mentors today. But looking back at my past experiences I find myself thinking, 'how can we change this?'.
S.T.E.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Our Wondrous Wahine tee was created to celebrate women in S.T.E.M. and to encourage girls to pursue career paths in these fields. Why is this so important? Because for far too long, this has been a sector in the workforce that has remained predominantly male.
According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 28% of the science and engineering workforce.
There are many factors that have been researched by scholars as to why this sector has remained predominantly male. I won't go too much into detail, but to learn more, I highly recommend checking out this study by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) titled Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Instead, I'd love to focus this blog on organizations in Hawai‘i looking to change these stats by encouraging girls at an early age to pursue their skills in S.T.E.M. programs.
Wāhine Processing Power aims to cultivate women and girls to be creators and innovators of new technologies by providing empowering S.T.E.M. learning and networking opportunities. In the Spring of 2019, Wāhine Processing Power became a grantee of Women's Fund of Hawai‘i, and with these funds, WPP created amazing workshops for girls that focused on one central theme--addressing the gender gap in S.T.E.M. fields while encouraging girls to get creative and envision a future where they are the makers of technologies.
This past summer, WPP hosted their first Kauaʻi Wāhine Processing Power workshop where participants learned about Hawaiʻi’s unique island watersheds while also engaging girls in technology through a project focused on water sensors. In this 2 day immersive learning experience, participants explored traditional and modern techniques for analyzing properties of water and even got to tour the Waiahi Surface Water Treatment Plant located at Grove Farms. On their second day, participants built a water sensor system to collect data on relevant metrics for monitoring the health of treated or untreated water.
Mahalo Wāhine Processing Power for all that you do for Hawai‘i's girls, and our future! To learn more about this amazing organization, visit their website HERE.
When you donate to Women's Fund of Hawai'i, you aren't just supporting one non-profit, you're supporting 100's of organizations statewide, like Wāhine Processing Power, who work to improve the lives of women and girls statewide. For a full list of current and past WFH grantees, visit their website HERE.