More than 100 3D-printed, life-size statues of female trailblazers have populated Washington ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8.
The exhibit seeks to empower and inspire the next generation of girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics): IF she can see it…THEN she can be it’ is the organizers’ motto; to have little girls go ‘wow, that could be me!’ when they see them, their goal. Hence the beaming orange colour chosen for the sculptures. The 120 replicas of ‘women changing the world’ do stand as a phosphorescent bold contrast against the more subdued colors of daily life.
“I never thought in my life I will ever have a statue in my own likeness. So this is just so awesome and amazing to be a part of the IF/THEN initiative. Because they’re really trying to be behind this motto, ‘if she sees it then she can be it,” Dr. Joyonna Gamble-George, a neuroscientist at Vanderbilt University told Reuters.
Amused and, in her words, honored to be standing by her statue, nuclear engineer Dr. Ciara Sivels knows about challenging the ‘science-type’ stereotype.
“I get that all the time, like, as you mentioned, being a Black woman and a nuclear engineer… And so for me, that’s my goal, right, is to show that Black women are in these fields,” she said.
To showcase the mighty assembly of 3D printed versions of these women ‘changing the world’, the Smithsonian partnered with IF/THEN, an initiative of the Dallas-based Lyda Hill Philanthropies.
“When you think about women in STEM, you think about maybe our neurophysicists or our astronomers, but we also have women who are designing video games and chemists who are working on a long-lasting lipstick and a science data analysis, who are working at ESPN helping understand sports,” said the institution’s Under Secretary for Museums and Culture, Rachel Goslin.
The Exhibit opens to the public on March 5 and runs until March 27.