The Leading Ladies of STEM: Giving a Voice to Women in the Sciences

Ask any young girl in the U.S. today to name the top five leading ladies in Hollywood and they’re likely to recite with ease a complete and accurate list in less than sixty seconds. But ask them to come up with five names of past and present notable females in science and technology and they’ll undoubtedly need some help from a Google search.

Even then, the names that surface may be as foreign to them as the subjects in which these women of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) are renowned. After all, how many of us are familiar with the latest research in artificial radioactivity, nuclear fission or environmental remediation?

When it comes to the topic of women in science, Marie Curie (1867-1934) is the one name that typically emerges from the void. Actively promoting throughout her life the use of radium to alleviate suffering, she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in physics in 1903 and the first person to win a second in 1911. In fact, her daughter Irène Curie-Joliot (1897-1956) followed closely in her footsteps and won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1935, making them the first parent-child duo to have independently won this prestigious award. That’s no small feat. Though Curie achieved great notoriety, her quiet, dignified and unassuming demeanor is certainly characteristic of many brilliant, dedicated and determined women who have made significant discoveries, yet remain in the shadows.

Consider the general obscurity of Lois Marie Gibbs, who in 1978 discovered that her Love Canal neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York and the school her child attended were both built atop a toxic dumping site for the Occidental Petroleum company. After succeeding in a campaign to relocate 900 families, Gibbs founded the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice in 1981 and helped organize grassroots efforts nationwide to raise awareness of the devastating impact toxic chemicals have on human health, particularly in the development of young children.

Women like Curie and Gibbs, inarguably natural-born investigators, possess a strong desire and passion for science, but even if it is in a young woman’s nature to pursue the unworn path, it’s the nurturing piece of the puzzle that continues to elude the gender and present the greatest obstacles. Though statistics vary by country, there’s a general consensus girls feel less motivated to choose STEM fields and have less confidence in their abilities than boys.

For example, a British study prepared for the London Mathematical Society found 42 percent of undergraduates in math are female yet only 6 percent of math professors are women. And in the U.S., according to a census bureau report, despite making up about half of the workforce overall, women still represent only about 26 percent of workers in STEM fields. In fact, there are dozens of studies, including a report published by Tools For Change entitled “Double Jeopardy? Gender Bias Against Women in Science,” that point to the role of cultural attitudes and their significant influence on the number of women in STEM careers.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to offer science as a real and viable career choice for a young woman before she reaches the conclusion that the fight is not worth the effort required to overcome the obstacles standing in her way.Imagine if Marie Curie or Jane Goodall, the world-renowned British primatologist, called it quits, collapsing under the weight of discrimination. Or more crucial, imagine a female Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein coming up in the world today with her future hanging in the balance.

Perhaps one day, young girls in the U.S., rather than associating the name Elizabeth with the actress whose last name is Banks, will think of Blackwell—the first to become a female medical doctor in the United States. Or instead of pairing the first name Rachel with the last name McAdams—yet another American actress—they’ll associate it with Carson—the American marine biologist and conservationist who brought to light the hazards of dangerous pesticides like DDT and revolutionized the global environmental movement.

Dr. Kristen Thoreson

About The Author

Dr. Kristen Thoreson leads the chemical research and product development program at REGENESIS®, the global leader in advanced environmental remediation technologies. A trained chemist, Thoreson’s graduate and post-doctorate research focused on mechanistic investigations of biotic and abiotic chlorinated ethene degradation pathways using molecular model systems and compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA). She obtained her BSc in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, and her PhD in inorganic chemistry from the University of Minnesota and spent time as a postdoctoral associate at the Helmholtz Zentrum in Munich, Germany as a part of the research unit for environmental organic isotope chemistry.


Founded in 1994, REGENESIS is a global environmental remediation company leading in the research, development and commercialization of technology-based solutions designed to restore contaminated soil and groundwater. REGENESIS’ scientifically proven, patented in situ products and solutions have successfully removed or neutralized hazardous industrial chemicals and toxins in more than 25,000 soil and groundwater cleanup projects across the globe. REGENESIS is the green choice for leading engineering, construction and environmental consulting firms serving a broad range of clients, including developers, insurance companies, manufacturers, municipalities, regulatory agencies and federal, state and local governments. Driven by a desire to assist those charged with managing the complex environmental challenges of the 21st century, REGENESIS not only simplifies processes and significantly reduces costs; but also contributes to a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous world. For more information, visit

Why ‘Girls’ and not ‘Women’?

Girls in Tech recently engaged in an email exchange with some women who were offended by the use of the word ‘Girls’ in “Girls in Tech” and ‘Lady’ in “Lady Pitch Night”. We apologized to these women for any misunderstanding or offensiveness caused. We also wanted to provide insight on why we branded the organization and one of our trademark events with these names.

Why ‘Girls’ and not ‘Women’? In conceptualizing the organization, Adriana wanted to create a community, a platform and a resource to further women’s careers in technology, as well as to create excitement around potential opportunities within the technology and startup worlds. Diving deeper into the organization’s culture and brand, the first things that came to mind were cutting edge, fun, collaborative, carefree and embracing challenge and risk. To her, these adjectives are clearly exhibited in our youth of today, and in everyday life, she embraces being a girl at heart and understands that all women were that girl and have that youthful spirit in them that should celebrated rather than suppressed.

Additionally, Girls in Tech addresses audiences at all points in the life cycle of a women in technology – from girls to professional women – and encourages each audience to embrace their femininity and “girlishness” as an asset and strength. We will continue to incorporate these tenets into our overall programming with confidence and vigor, as these are our core values. Our primary goal is to produce initiatives that make an impact on society, and we feel that focusing on semantics detracts from our mission.

At Girls in Tech, we believe that deep down, we’re all still girls at heart. No matter where we are in life, the corporate ladder, how successful we are, or how much money we earn, we … as women leaders, professionals, mothers or sisters will always be “girls” first and foremost … especially away from the boardroom and the home.  Plus, we wanted to brand Girls in Tech as a “young,” “hip,” “progressive,” cutting-edge,” and “NOW” organization … hence the name “Girls in Tech.”

“Lady Pitch Night” is the name of an EVENT that we created … not the description of a person or a professional.  We want to brand the event as a “Woman-Only” pitch event … and “Female Pitch Night” or “Women Pitch Night” just doesn’t cut it in terms of flow, branding, hipness and edginess.  Much like “Ladies Room” sounds MUCH BETTER than “Women’s Room” or “Female Room,” Girls in Tech believes that “Lady Pitch Night” is the best way to brand the event, grow the event worldwide and leave a lasting impression.

Why The World Needs More Women In Tech

Thanks to Next Generation, we can clearly see why Women in Tech is mandatory in the world. From the percentage of computing jobs held by women in the US, to showcasing which tech companies have the most male colleagues, the below infographic sure helps put things in perspective. Take a peek below or read here:



A Chat With Shira Weinberg :: Managing Director – Tel Aviv

HI Shira! Thank you for joining us and letting the world know about one of our fabulous Tel Aviv M.D.’s

Can you tell us where you are originally from and how you feel the women in tech climate differs from that of other countries?  I am from Israel and I Co-Manage the Tel-Aviv Chapter. The tech community climate is very different here. Israel is VERY high tech, with lots of start-ups and entrepreneurs. We host a lot of meet ups and events for women entrepreneurs–especially over the last year.

How long have you been involved in Girls in Tech? 2 months

What motivated you to get involved in the organization?  As a woman in tech, I noticed years ago that there were not a lot of women in this industry.  After learning about the state of females in tech here, and just absorbing more knowledge in general, I now feel that I can contribute more.  I still have a lot to learn, but today I’m in a place where I can leverage my knowledge and experience to create events and help others in our community.  Lucky for me, I get to do this with my Co-Managing Director, Dalit, who is also a friend of mine. She actually started the chapter and it was a great opportunity for me to get involved.

ShiraW-GIT If you could do anything in this world, what would it be?

Make a difference where I can.  I want to impact lots of people. I find that I also grow personally which helps me improve in a way that can help others make impact.

So of course I have to ask…how are you now stepping into faith in pursuit of your long-term vision?  As I move forward with career goals, I try to broaden my scope within technology, like working on products to reach more users.  I try to build personal mentorship relationships with more women at work or in my community who are in higher positions than I am currently in my professional career. Of course, Girls in Tech is another aspect of this element as well.

Outside of Girls in Tech, tell us three things you love to do.

 Who’s on your playlist rotation right now?  Hmnnn…I’m not too good about playlists. Nothing special I have to say. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me, Shira! Excited to see the progress in Tel Aviv.

Have questions for Shira? Talk to her on Facebook at GIT- Tel Aviv.

Want to know other attributes for upcoming interviews? Tweet me @chicaintelli and let me know!



It Was Never a Dress Campaign Launches at Girls in Tech’s Catalyst Conference

Girls in Tech​ is in full support of partner Axosoft​’s new campaign which was launched at #CatalystConference Phoenix: It was NEVER a dress! #Itwasneveradress is an invitation to shift perceptions and assumptions about women and the audacious, sensitive, and powerful gestures they make every single day. In science, technology, arts, mathematics, politics, houses of worship, on the streets, and in our homes, insightful women are often uninvited, overlooked, or just plain dismissed. Through storytelling, community building, innovation and creative disruptions, It Was Never a Dress will foster necessary conversations, vital voices, and images from around the world that honor ALL women. When we see women differently… we see the world differently! Stay tuned and keep disrupting.

In the coming weeks, they will be inviting submissions for sharing stories, images and ideas about perceptions and realities. Sign up here to be part of the conversation –

The Future of Women in Tech is Hanging in the Balance

Written by Jarret Moses, Infusionsoft

Technology has been used as a truly universal conduit for positive change. It has literally given a voice to the voiceless and hope to the hopeless; However, even with all technology has done for us, we have only scratched the surface. All things, even nature, search to find equilibrium. The world of technology is no different, thus it is imperative that as an industry we foster, nurture, and maintain female engagement to bring balance to our male centric workforce.
We can only solution for the issues we see, and we see the world from the vantage point of experience. Given our current male/ female imbalance, we are consistently trying to solve problems with only half of the equation. At the end of the day, a bunch of guys solve guy problems. When people start new companies or lead the charge for change at an established one, they are looking to solve problems meaningful and important to them. Just like Scott and Eric Martineau founded Infusionsoft to solve a problem dear to them, amazing women like Sandy Lerner, co-founder of Cisco Systems and Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr, solved problems relevant to their experience. They saw problems, (some of which had existing solutions), and crafted thriving, competitive alternatives. We need more, varied technologies to deepen our capacity for change. Without more women solutioning, our efforts remain shallow, at best.
It takes a certain level of fearlessness and strength to venture into a world sometimes devoid of anyone who looks like you or shares your perspective on the world. The next generation is always watching and learning from the previous. We are the role models of tomorrow’s leaders – the mentors of the inventors of the next big thing, but we are not reflective of all those who look to us. When taking a journey of a thousand miles, you want to talk to someone who has taken that journey. As today’s girls are looking at technology and searching for a role model, they have a much harder time than their male peers. The gender disparity creates a cyclical problem which contributes to a lack of women in tech. This must stop.

We need to disrupt norms and cycles which discourage girls from growing into leaders. While Lean In has brought this issue to the forefront, we must carry this conversation. We must break our habits of discouraging girls from tackling difficult problems or under emphasizing their intellect and substituting it with vanity.

Ironically, it starts by looking in the mirror. Imagine if a co-worker told you their daughter was pursuing science and math hobbies or seeking out leadership roles in her community. We would be happy to hear this, and perhaps note that girl is extraordinary. That feeling of glee we feel, is in actuality, abnormal normality. We should be working to create a world in which that glee and pride is no different than if her brother had the same interests. Our industry must create a vision of the world for girls which shows them women and men are equally apt to solve difficult problems, lead, and create a better tomorrow for everyone.

The heart of our industry is powered by problem solving. Women having a larger share in the problem discovery and solutioning process will create a brighter future for everyone. The solution is attainable and we all need to take a stake reaching it.

STUDENTS! Win Tickets to the Catalyst Conference!

Get a glimpse of post-graduate reality. Join the amazing ladies of the tech world from across the globe as they congregate on topics like funding, diversity, work-life balance, social entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation, and more at the Catalyst Conference in Phoenix, Arizona April 26 to 28th.

STUDENTS: Use code gitccstudent for over 60% off your ticket price (just $75 to attend) to experience this inspirational and educational summit packed with female industry leaders!  #GitReady and visit for all the deets or tweet @GirlsInTech for info. *please note: you will need to show a valid school ID during conference check-in.


March 17 – March 30

Create a post discussing the most effective ways you’ve seen women work together to achieve something great, (IE working together for one great cause, working as one). In our case, it’s Girls in Tech and everything we’re about. What are some other examples you can provide to showcase collaboration for the greater good?

HOW:  Post your story on your LINKED IN and TWEET it out or Tweet a 140 character message specific to the topic.
You MUST hashtag #GITReady tag @GirlsINTech to be entered to win!

PRIZE PACK: A swanky prize pack packed with gift certificates, a haute tee, Google Play cards, must have snacks ,and more, fit for an all around top student, INCLUDING A SEAT TO THE CATALYST CONFERENCE APRIL 26-28TH !
(OVER $400 value)

Gender Diversity In Startups Might Be More Important Than You Thought

Did you know that while it is no secret that the tech startup community is lacking women, this gender imbalance may actually be impeding startups? David Cohen, founder and CEO of TechStars, delves into this topic and provides tips for combating gender disparity in this Wall Street Journal blog entry.

Cohen references a 2010 study completed by researchers from MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and Union College on collective intelligence in groups. As Cohen points out, the study “found that groups with more women had a higher collective intelligence, which led to better group cooperation.” David also stresses the importance of creating a more balanced work team in stating, “This is not just a problem for women – it’s a big problem for all of us, because we’re missing out on immeasurable untapped talent, creativity and different points of view.”

Continue reading David’s post to learn more on his five tips that will help you create a more diverse startup culture. You can also learn more about related collective intelligence research from Christopher F. Chabris, a previous NCWIT Summit presenter, in his archived presentation titled, “Women and the Collective Intelligence of Human Groups.”

Source: NCWIT

Is the Innotribe Startup Challenge For Me?

If you are reading this, thinking should I / shouldn’t I participate, then I want to challenge you, and flip it to say: why wouldn’t you?

The Innotribe Startup Challenge is free to enter, unlike other challenges. We don’t charge for companies to pitch, and it’s open to startups as well as more grown-up companies who are still under the radar. It’s dedicated to FinTech entrepreneurs, this means that the judges we recruit, the audience we attract are the people you needto reach as they know any idea coming out of Innotribe will be relevant to them.

So, what’s in it for me?

Feedback: during the selection process, your application form will be read by a team of judges, from investors, VC’s technologists and bankers, and they will give youfeedback on your pitch deck, how it can be improved, even if you don’t get selected. If one of the judges finds your idea interesting, they may choose to reach out to you and talk regardless of your ranking in the competition.

Exposure: if you make it through the selection process, you will be invited to one of our regional showcases, in London, Singapore or New York, to pitch your idea to a room of relevant people who will be assessing your presentation. Using the media channels, blogs, Twitter, and LinkedIn, we will expose your ideas to our 20,000+ followers, before, during and after the showcase.

Since Innotribe launched in 2009, we have seen over $350 million in investment, purchase and acquisition transactions for the Startups that have participated in our programme.

Coaching: We don’t throw you into the showcase cold. We have a team of coaches who will help you refine your pitch, before the showcase, to really connect with the audience, and to challenge you on your idea, in order to help you deliver a high quality pitch, which will be available on our YouTube channel.

Win the regional showcase, and we will be inviting you to come to Sibos, the biggest financial services conference in the world, organized by SWIFT. Here you will be pitching against the winners of the other regional showcases, in the Grand Finale, with exposure to the 5000+ financial decision makers who come to Sibos on a yearly basis. The networking opportunities on their own should be reason enough to sign up.

Cash Prize: Last but not least, should an early stage startup make it through the regional showcase, and win the Grand Finale, they will be awarded a cash prize of $50,000.

The Innotribe Startup Challenge gives your business the exposure it needs to take it to the next level, provides you with access to key financial decision makers, offers feedback and coaching from our highly experienced set of industry experts, and for the startups among you a shot at a big cash prize, all this for no fee.

To paraphrase kennedy, ask not what you can do for innotribe, but ask what innotribe can do for you and your business!

Sign-up at before 23rd February and be part of our 2014 journey!

Tech Firms Now Hiring More Women Than Men

A curious thing has happened in the tech world. In an industry that has long been considered a boys club, suddenly firms are hiring more women than men.

Read the rest of the article at CNNMoney