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Melinda Gates Tweets About #NPRWIT Series


Now we'd just like to give you a brief update on our Women in Tech series. All this month we've been talking to women entrepreneurs, innovators, coders and engineers about their work. We've been talking about why women still represent a small fraction of science and tech workers in America and, frankly, around the world. To that end, women innovators from around the world have been sharing about a day in their lives on Twitter using the hashtag #NPRWIT. And women in tech are taking notice.

The series even caught the attention of philanthropist Melinda Gates. She weighed in tweeting, quote, are you following @TellMeMoreNPR's #NPRWIT conversation? Great look inside the lives of innovative women. But the conversations aren't just happening online. Elena Rodriguez Falcon of the University of Sheffield joined us on air and told us it's never too early to get girls interested in tech.


RODRIGUEZ FALCON: We can even start earlier than primary school. We can start at home. Changing popular TV shows, literature, children's books where social constructs are not so defined. For example, when you read a book to your children that is full of social constructs that define a girl will be a nurse and a boy will be a firefighter, for example. I think popular culture is very import.

MARTIN: We're also looking at what it takes to get women into leadership roles in STEM fields - once again, that's science, technology, engineering and math. We've heard that when women do make it to higher levels they often have to deal with negative stereotypes of being too bossy. There's even a Ban Bossy campaign started by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to change the perceptions of assertive women. We asked Nigeria's finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who has a doctorate from MIT and is the former managing director of the World Bank, what she thought about the campaign and the perception that assertive women are seen as bossy.

NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA: I think if you know your facts and you know what you're shooting for, and you can bring your team in to help you deliver, you know, instill confidence in your team as well at the time you're doing this, then you will not be seen as bossy.

MARTIN: Regardless of where or how you come to the conversation about women in tech, some of the best advice we've heard so far came from Natalia Oberti Noguera of Pipeline fellowship. That's an organization that helps people become investors. Here's what she had to say.

NATALIA OBERTI NOGUERA: If you don't have a seat at the table, bring your own chair.

MARTIN: We're going to continue our series throughout March for Women's History Month. Next week, we'll hear from our panel of parents about fostering a love of science and technology in their daughters and building their confidence - if you can't wait that long, you can join the conversation now and throughout the month on Twitter using the hashtag #NPRWIT. To hear our previous conversations and see highlights from our Twitter conversations so far, just visit us online at NPR.org/tellmemore. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.