The #IfThenSheCan Exhibit that Empowers Women

If you follow me on Instagram (follow me @_thepinkchickadee!), then you know that I am a newly proud Woman in STEM. Being a Woman in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is all about empowering younger women to be the BEST versions of themselves – it’s about teaching younger girls to explore their passions within the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, rather than shy away from them simply because of their gender. It’s ALL about going after a dream and goals that empower us to be a minority within a field that has a male majority, whether that mean being the only woman within a science/technology/engineering/mathematics class, or the only woman in a meeting of all men at work. That being said, women in STEM make up under 30% of the STEM workforce to this day. So, when I heard that the #IfThenSheCan exhibit was coming to Washington, DC’s Smithsonian, I KNEW I had to visit!

The #IfThenSheCan Exhibit (learn more about it here!) is here to change that by showcasing 3-D printed statues 120 real-life women in the STEM industry, honoring their accomplishments within the industry as they pave the way for other women and younger girls to do the same themselves someday, too. The #IfThenSheCan Exhibit was on display at Washington, DC’s Smithsonian from March 5-27, 2022. One of the interesting insights that the #IfThenSheCan Exhibit’s website brings up is that the majority of statues around the United States’ major cities are of men. Indeed, the majority of statues are of men around the world, too. Us women are just starting to make our way in this world in ways that are beyond the household, including within STEM fields, executive leadership, and politics.

I happened to visit the #IfThenSheCan Exhibit twice – once with my good friend Shivani who is also a fellow Women in STEM and a second time with my coworker Katherine whose another fellow Woman in STEM and Shivani. The first time around, Shivani and I arrived on a Sunday afternoon at the Smithsonian Gardens, where a good portion of the 120 statues were placed around the Smithsonian. Before Shivani arrived, I ended up talking to a fellow Woman in STEM who worked with all men about the empowerment of being a women in STEM. Both of us agreed that there needs to be more representation of women of color, women apart of the LGBTQ+ community, women of all abilities, and those who are gender non-binary. Once Shivani arrived, we went inside the Smithsonian Castle and into the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History, which had many of the statues placed around the museum’s exhibits. The coolest part of the statues within the Museum of Natural History was that the statues were coordinated to the women’s specialties throughout the exhibits! For example, a woman who works in oceanography would be placed somewhere within the oceanography exhibits. The same concept went for archaeologists and biologists. And, the second time around, Katherine, Shivani, and I all admired the Smithsonian Gardens’ #IfThenSheCan Exhibit statues before heading to the Cherry Blossoms along the Washington Monument. Cool stuff all around!!

As a woman, it is extremely empowering to be able to succeed in a STEM field. I have been able to meet several women who are also in STEM fields, simply through viewing the #IfThenSheCan Exhibit. It is beyond extraordinary to see and learn and grow and blossom into this magnificent network of fellow Women in STEM. Here’s to strong women: may we raise them, may we empower them, and may we be them. Nevertheless, may we be the women that encourage another woman to pursue a career in STEM, too. Cheers!

XOXO – Katie <3

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