For many years now, women around the world have been pushing against a variety of impediments which once limited their impact in a long list of careers – many of which fall within the sphere of activity we know as STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine.
What’s more, as the number of women finding their own routes into STEM grew, their impact on these integral fields grew exponentially. We have at our disposal innumerable examples of the ways in which women – once so comprehensively precluded from so many roles within STEM – have spurred on revolutions that have altered, or promise to alter, the lives of so many around the world.
Still, it was always inevitably that Covid-19 would derail even the most tireless efforts within these sectors – although it did not undermine them entirely. For that reason, here are just three of the many women working in STEM who pushed their research and development further, and continued to improve the world despite the grip of the pandemic.
Queen’s Award for Enterprise Winner and the creator behind the June Medical self-retaining surgical retractor, Spang’s ongoing development of this pivotal device has ensured ongoing progress within the surgical world – progress which promises to help in the fight to make ORs safer in a world that continues to be gripped by Covid-19.
Her ongoing work to transform the OR via this vital piece of equipment is testament to the change that can be wrought by focusing on just one part of a larger whole.
2021 WE50 Award Winner, principal contractor Baker was positioned at the very forefront of efforts to meet the massive surge of demand for hospital beds throughout the height of the first and second waves of Covid-19. Along with many others, she was able to help create more than 4,000 additional ‘Nightingale’ beds for patients in need of urgent care, ensuring a tireless effort to save as many lives as possible amid the chaos of the pandemic.
Now, her work has come full circle, and she is currently working to improve mental health resources for engineers working throughout the pandemic.
Dr Kizzmekia Corbett
More so than ever before, those of us standing on the side-lines have been able to appreciate quite how demanding the pursuit of a vaccine truly is. For those like Dr Corbett, working on the very frontline of Covid-19 vaccine research was an experience like no other – and an immense struggle to which we all owe our lives.
Now, as our lives are able to be reshaped for the better by effective vaccines, Dr Corbett is trained toward encouraging more young girls of colour into STEM, ensuring that the future will always be safeguarded by the brightest minds of any generation – regardless of race or gender, or any other factor which may preclude others from joining the field.
New opportunities for women are continually opening up within the fields of STEM which have, for too long, imposed unnecessary hurdles. These women, and thousands more like them, are testament to the positive power of change, and the potential these industries hold for making the future better, safer, and healthier.