By Ayah Bdeir, Founder & CEO, littleBits
Reposted from http://littlebits.cc/last-nights-dnc-nomination
Today is a momentous day. Whether or not you are into politics, you cannot ignore today as a big day for the US and the world. Last night, the first woman was nominated by a major political party to run for the most powerful office in the world. I woke up this morning feeling that the world turned a corner; it’s a moment that deserves pause and praise and pride for women and men everywhere. I know, I feel it.
I grew up in Beirut with 3 sisters, no brothers. My mom was a career woman since I was born, and my sisters and I grew up seeing her work hard, learn everyday and strive to earn the respect of her colleagues and her friends through her achievements. When we were young, my dad got us chemistry sets, electricity kits, and programming lessons alongside dolls and playsets. My sisters and I all grew to be very career focused and never felt that there were any barriers in front of us because of our gender. But when I went to college I realized that this wasn’t the case for most women around me. Many grew up with messages of what they could or couldn’t do, who they could or couldn’t be.
Today with the nomination of Hillary Clinton, we are sending a signal to girls around the world that barriers are coming down. Women can change the status quo – they can and will have a shot at running the world. More so, women can be respected for their intellect, their achievements, and their divergent approaches and opinions.
I am particularly inspired by this tweet my colleague shared yesterday:
In a time where is there is more than enough fear and negativity to go around, this is a moment of happiness and pride and praise. May the next generation of ladies be full of confidence, poise and eagerness to change the world, and invent the world they want to live in. And may the barriers facing anyone because of their gender, sexuality, race, or language fall a little more every day. It can and it will happen if we believe it and we work for it.
I’ll leave you with some of our favorite videos of our young lady inventors. If these don’t give you hope that world is changing for the better, then I don’t know what will.
Anahit Tonoyan, age 11, taught herself programming using littleBits and invented “Bat Vision” – a device for the vision-impaired that can detect obstacles using echolocation.
Danielle Delgado, age 13, invented a Bit-ified Leaning Tower of Pisa using 3D-printed components.
4th grader Anoushka Banerjee invented the science fair-winning “Pawmer” – a pet calmer that plays classical music using littleBits to calm her overanxious dog.
7th-grader Mya Berkey invented “Brushing in the Groove,” which motivates her to brush thoroughly by tracking how often she brushes her braces.
About Ayah Bdeir
Ayah Bdeir is the founder and CEO of littleBits, an award-winning platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks that is empowering everyone to create inventions, large and small. Bdeir is an engineer, interactive artist and one of the leaders of the open source hardware movement. Bdeir’s career and education have centered on advancing open source hardware to make education and innovation more accessible to people around the world. She is a co-founder of the Open Hardware Summit, a TED Senior Fellow and an alumna of the MIT Media Lab. Bdeir was named one Business Insider’s 26 Most Powerful Women Engineers, a Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Honoree, one of one of Inc. Magazine’s 35 Under 35, one of NY Business Journal’s Women of Influence, one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, one of Popular Mechanics’ 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream, one ofEntrepreneur’s 10 Leaders to Watch, one of the CNBC Next List, and one of MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35. Originally from Lebanon, Ayah now lives in New York City.
littleBits™ is on a mission to Democratize Hardware by empowering everyone—of any gender, age or technical background—to Create Inventions, large and small, with its innovative platform of easy-to-useElectronic Building Blocks. Our Bits™ snap together with magnets to allow anyone to build, invent, and prototype with electronics independent of age, gender and technical background. From classrooms to homes, littleBits is driving excitement for invention-based learning through design challenges and in-classroom curriculum. The company is also dedicated to successfully bridging the gender gap with its gender-neutral platform, inspiring young girls and young boys to unleash their creativity and embrace STEAM (Science, Technology, Art and Mathematics) through the invention cycle. littleBits is used by more than 12,000 educators across the world as an engaging tool for making STEAM more accessible to all students and preparing them for the jobs that haven’t been invented yet.
The company was founded in 2011 by MIT graduate, TED Senior Fellow and cofounder of the Open Hardware Summit, Ayah Bdeir, and has grown to be a global leader in hardware. Bdeir was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, one of one of Inc.’s “35 Under 35” and “Entrepreneurs to Watch,” one of Entrepreneur’s “10 Leaders to Watch,” one of Popular Mechanics’ “25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream,” and one of MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35. The littleBits platform includes more than 9 kits and 67 interoperable modules with millions of products sold to over 150 countries around the world. The littleBits invention app takes inventing to new levels with thousands of additional invention ideas and challenges. littleBits products have won more than 25 tech and education awards including an acquisition into the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) permanent collection, IDEA Gold Award, Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Popular Science Best of Toy Fair, Good Housekeeping’s Best Toy Award and Makerfaire Educator’s Choice and Editor’s Choice Awards. http://littlebits.cc/pressroom