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Girls Do Science Too: A Conversation with Skimlinks VP of Engineering Jen Langdon

Posted 6 years ago by Skimlinks

STEMettes HackathonSkimlinks was thrilled to partner with STEMettes to host a 2-day hackathon this past weekend at our London office. The event was aimed at exposing young girls to the world of coding/engineering through a fun “hack” where the girls got creative with javascript. The organization’s aim is to provide girls with mentorship and encourage them to enter the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Through events, exhibitions and successful mentors they hope to increase the number of women in STEM fields in the UK to 30% vs the current 13%.

To give us some insight about the importance of organizations like STEMettes and the changing role of women in these industries is Jen Langdon, our own Vice President of Engineering here at Skimlinks.

Despite doing well in math, science and arts – a would-be engineer’s trifecta – as a young girl, Langdon was never told that a career in STEM might be something she should consider.

“I got a lot of career advice but not one suggested computer science to me,” Jen Langdon, Vice President of Engineering at Skimlinks said. “It was about exposure. Why wasn’t I encouraged to go into tech? Because women weren’t a prominent part of the scene,” she added.

Luckily, that’s all changing and the male-dominated scenes of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are slowly but surely evening out. These days, more and more females are choosing careers in STEM – a drastic change from the time when Langdon began her career – and she couldn’t be more thrilled.

“It has fundamentally changed,” Langdon said. “We have understood the importance and value of getting women into science and technology, those with those skills are actually being pushed into these fields.”

STEMettes and Skimlinks HackathonOne reason for the increase could be pointed to a push from schools encouraging girls to enter the fields as well as the various organizations that have sprung up over the years whose mission is to increase the number of females in STEM fields. Several organizations come to mind including Girls Who Code, STEMettes and others.

“It’s game changing,” Langdon said. “Universities are doing a great job and these organizations are at a very young age introducing technology and putting everyone on equal footing. It’s giving women the confidence that this could be you.”

Organizations like STEMettes as well as the changing perception of science, technology, engineering and math fields has inspired a whole new generation of young women to embark on careers they otherwise might not have.

“They’re so young,” Langdon said. “Being able to do it is a natural assumption, why would I not consider computer science? Or why would I not consider going into electrical engineering? Whereas the question when I was growing up was what the heck is computer science?”

Though much progress has been made, Langdon admits there’s still a ways to go for true equality.

“We’ve made some inroads into this, but it’s still unusual for females to hold senior positions.” The key she says is to “open up the world to girls as young as possible, work on building environments and getting a much more even balance, slowly but surely it’s absolutely changing.”

Langdon’s last bit of advice to young women is to keep an open mind and not discount potential careers in STEM before they’ve had a chance to explore them.

“The world pretty much revolves around technology in some form or another,” she said. “If you’re analytical and creative, then the world of science and tech is your oyster and you should believe that you can add color to it.”

Top image via STEMettes

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