Photo from Simone Giertz’s Facebook page
Simone Giertz (see video below for pronunciation on that; she’s Swedish so it’s weird) is the self-proclaimed “queen of shi**y robots.” I feel like she’s the robotics version of me with my crafts, only a much more inventive, Youtuber version of me. Simone states that she’s not an engineer, but that she loves inventing and creating robots…I suppose that if you earn your living by making videos about the robots you’ve created, even though you’re essentially making money because you engineered a thing, you’re not actually an engineer by trade because your trade is YouTube videos. Oof, that’s a lot to think about. And also totally not the point of this post!
In an age when STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers are a huge priority for the United States because these careers are the ones that get things innovated and keep our nation at the fore-front of technology, the gender imbalance in the field is crazy. In college I considered pursuing a STEM degree so I could become the token woman in a research lab and make bank; ultimately, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life so graduated with a quick liberal arts degree so I could gtfo of college. That’s my reason for not going for it, but there are also proven biases against women in these fields that make it so that the gender gap persists.
However, I also think that the gender gap starts early. Even when I remember my high school days, only 1/4 of my teachers in math and science were women. As I wrote about in last week’s post about emojis, it’s important for girls to be able to see role models of their gender in prospective fields. That’s why I love what Simone Giertz is doing. Even though she’s not truly paid to make robots or be an engineer, she provides a role model for young girls by showing that they can be interested in robots and still be a) cool b) girls c) who are relatable and real.