From the suffrage movement to labor activism, women have had a long fight for equality in society and in the workplace.
And that fight isn’t over, especially for women who go into science, technology, engineering, and math … or STEM … fields of work.
A study from the U.S. Department of Commerce found that only 24 percent of the people who work in STEM are female. That's right, only 1 in 4 of the STEM workforce is women.
But there is work to change that, and we're going to be speaking with some of Las Vegas' leading women in technology.
Lori Nguyen is the President of the Las Vegas Women in Technology Awards, who started the award ceremony after noticing there was a need to recognize the work these women are doing.
She said the awards recognize, honor and support women in tech in Las Vegas to help them stay in their careers.
“We’re looking for a woman who has really directly impacted Southern Nevada,” she said. Nguyen said the nominees need a depth of accomplishments and experience and she believes there are plenty of women in Las Vegas that qualify.
One of the biggest issues for women in technology jobs has been discrimination and sexism. Nguyen acknowledges it is a problem and she herself has been discriminated against because of her gender.
Linda Montgomery is the founder of The Learning Center and the winner of the 2016 High Tech Woman of the Year. She has been in tech since the 80s and has seen her share of discrimination because she's a woman. But her solution to that problem was simple: “My perspective is to just come to the work and focus on the work and be great.”
Debbie Banko is the founder of Link Technologies and the winner of the 2016 High Tech Entrepreneur. She started her company at her kitchen table and she agreed with Montgomery that a person's work is more important than gender.
“I don’t care if you’re a woman or a man, if you’re qualified then you belong working in technologies,” she said.
Her advice for women coming into STEM fields now is to be "excellent at your work and move past the obstacles that are put in your way."
This year's nominations for the Las Vegas Women in Tech Awards are in, with the award ceremony scheduled this summer.
Lori Nguyen, president, Las Vegas Women in Technology Awards; Linda Montgomery, founder, The Learning Center; Debbie Banko, founder, Link Technologies