Women & Hi Tech exists to change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all. To achieve our goal, we work to connect female STEM professionals with each other and our community in Indiana. Our members and sponsors represent a wide array of STEM fields, including life sciences, accounting, engineering, psychology, statistics, and information technology. They work as engineers, analysts, scientists, business developers, marketers, educators, and more.
It takes boldness, curiosity, and diligence to pursue studies and a career in STEM, regardless of your gender. However, there’s also no denying that these industries have long been male-dominated. That’s not because the people in them don’t want change; it’s because organizations like Women & Hi Tech need support to make that change happen. From guiding young women through some of their first experiments to recognizing industry-leading expertise at our premier, biennial Leading Light Awards, the support system and networking opportunities Women & Hi Tech provide engage both female STEM professionals and girls who aspire and/or pursue STEM careers.
When we work together on a level playing field, the outcomes are stronger for everyone. Women & Hi Tech wants to see STEM industries transformed by collaboration, and every day we promote, support, and cheer on the women and male allies working to make it happen in order to provide a level playing field for all.
The idea germinated in 1999, when Eli Lilly scientist, Joyce Gustafson, and Indiana University academic, Georgia Miller, discovered that there were very few women working in high tech jobs in Indianapolis. While the term “STEM,” including science, technology, engineering, and math, had not yet been coined, the “Hi Tech Industries” in which ladies were working included advanced manufacturing, telecommunications, agriculture, biotechnology, health care, information technology, and related fields. However, STEM careers across Indiana were highly male dominated, which presented a unique set of challenges and obstacles for women seeking to advance. So, Gustafson and Miller decided to change that paradigm and founded Women & Hi Tech as a new nonprofit organization in Indianapolis.
Over the last two decades, Women & Hi Tech has blazed a trail for supporting, recognizing, and advancing outstanding women and girls pursuing STEM fields in Indiana. In that time, Women & Hi Tech has become a pillar of the local STEM community through its educational, professional development, recognition, mentoring, and networking programs, which provide valuable resources to champion collegiate and career women, along with STEM exposure opportunities for K-12 girls. A membership of almost 2000 professionals and students operated by an all-volunteer working Board of Directors and Emeritus, Women & Hi Tech is the only non-profit organization founded and focused in Indiana that is dedicated to changing the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all. Click here to see a timeline. Click here to see our Leaders of Distinction.
The influence and impact Women & Hi Tech has made to elevate women in STEM in the Indiana statewide community over the last 20 years has been far-reaching and has not gone unnoticed by our city, state, and national government leaders. In recognition of two decades of serving, advocating, and effecting change to promote inclusion and equality of all women in STEM in Indiana, on August 16, 2019, at The Women & Hi Tech 20th Anniversary Celebration event held at The Willows on Westfield, Women & Hi Tech was honored by several government officials.
For example, August 16, 2019 was proclaimed by Angela Smith Jones, J.D., Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, on behalf of Mayor Joe Hogsett throughout the city of Indianapolis as Women & Hi Tech Day. August 16, 2019 was also proclaimed by Tracy Barnes, Chief of Staff for Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, on behalf of Governor Eric Holcomb throughout the state of Indiana as Women in STEM Day. Notably, on August 2, 2019, an entry honoring The 20th Anniversary of Women & Hi Tech was also recorded into the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Record at Vol. 165, No. 132 of our nation's history by Congresswoman Susan Brooks of Indiana’s 5th District.