Ever since the first women kicked open the door to an education and scientific career, more and more girls have been choosing the professions in science, technology, engineering and math. Recognizing that STEM is the very field to shape the future and open brand-new career opportunities, UNDP works to help women have an equal share in this booming job market.
Nana Dikhaminjia is a Deputy Rector and Professor of Electronic and Computer Engineering at Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia, as well as a visiting assistant research professor at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of the Missouri University of Science and Technology, USA. She actively volunteers in local educational programs and provides robotics classes for kids advocating for participation of women and girls in the fields of science and technology.
The thrill of being the first ever
Taken over a century ago, these unique photographs depict some of those Georgian women who courageously entered the realm of higher education and science, at that time considered to be exclusively men’s domain. It’s hard to imagine what an effort those women must have undertaken to challenge the attitudes rooted in societies and educational systems and make careers as researchers, creators, thinkers and game-changing innovators. But once this window of opportunity was open, they did not hold back to step in and have their say.
A century later: fast-forwarding, but still held back
Keeping in mind what our great-grandmothers have achieved, we need to focus on the challenges that rise ahead. The huge technology leap of the last two decades accelerated the process, yet in many cases the gap still prevails – in Georgia women make up only 12 percent of the employees in tech-related industries. Technologies can indeed open new ways to gender equality, but we need to make sure that a fair share of seats in this fast-moving vehicle to the future is occupied by educated, capable and empowered women and girls.