The Women in Robotics group now has more than 800 members across the globe and has been running informally since 2011, so we decided it was time to make things official. Our first Board of Directors are eight women who have contributed to women in robotics activities in many ways, from role models to spokespeople, from event organizers to campaigners.
We’d like to welcome:
- President: Andra Keay (CA USA) Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics and original founder of Women in Robotics organization and the “25 Women in Robotics you need to know about” list.
- Treasurer: Laurie Linz (CO USA) Software Engineer and founder of the very active Boulder/Denver chapter of Women in Robotics.
- Secretary: Sue Keay (Aust) Research Director of Cyber-Physical Systems at CSIRO’s Data 61 and lead of Grace Hopper Down Under.
- Lisa Winter (CA USA) Maker of things at Quartz and twice world champion at Battlebots, plus mentor for girls in robotics.
- Sabine Haeurt (UK) Assistant Professor of Swarm Robotics at Bristol Robotics Lab, President and CoFounder of Robohub and contributor to the “25 Women in Robotics you need to know about” list.
- Sarah Osentoski (CA USA) VP of Engineering at Iron Ox, former COO of Mayfield Robotics and Board Member of Women in Machine Learning.
- Hallie Siegel (Canada) First Managing Editor for Robohub and contributor to the “25 Women in Robotics you need to know about” list.
- Cynthia Yeung (CA USA) COO at CafeX, ex Google, Softbank Robotics and all around robot evangelist.
Our objectives as a group are to advance diversity and equity in robotics by providing local meetups and a global online community for women who work in robotics and women who would like to work in robotics. Activities can include outreach, organizing celebrations, speaker events and panels, but the core activity is peer networking and mentoring for women in robotics.
“Statistically, women in robotics are unlikely to be working with other women, and that contributes to the much greater professional drop out rate for women as compared to men,” says Andra Keay. “There’s not much point in doing STEM outreach to get girls and women interested in robotics, if they’re going to drop out after a few years in the workplace. And the robotics industry has an increasing skills shortage, so we can’t afford to lose talented women. I can’t control pay scales or promotions at other companies, but I can create a supportive environment here.”
The Board will meet every two months and may grow to include more representatives from other regions. If you’re interested in joining the community, sign up at http://womeninrobotics.org . If you’re an ally and interested in supporting us, please attend our public events and spread the word to your female colleagues. The next “25 Women in Robotics you need to know about” list will be published on October 8th on Ada Lovelace Day. The SF Bay Area group will be having a celebration event at UC Berkeley, and we’d love to see more local events celebrating women in tech and robotics on Ada Lovelace Day!