Come 2023, Pittsburgh will have something new in common with Boston, New York and San Antonio: a Women in Robotics group of its very own.
Women in Robotics is a global organization designed to support women and nonbinary people who work in robotics or who are considering the field, with local chapters support networking and outreach. Under the Pittsburgh Robotics Network’s facilitation, Jenn Apicella, its director of strategic partnerships and programs, told Technical.ly she hopes that the local chapter will give Pittsburgh women in robotics a place to learn, collaborate, and support each other in a male-dominated field. (Zippia estimates that in the US, as of 2022, only 7% of robotics engineers are women.)
“It was very logical and made total sense that we should have a chapter here in Pittsburgh up and running, being that we have over 100 robotics companies operating here, and there are women working at just about every one of those companies,” Apicella said.
So far, Apicella said there’s been an enthusiastic response from the public. As a volunteer organization, the Pittsburgh chapter will be community driven, with members who’ll act as a part of a launch board for the chapter and be responsible for setting the chapter’s priorities. Apicella envisions the chapter will also invite guest speakers and host educational activities.
As someone whose advocacy has hinged in part on getting more women involved in the robotics field with her years of volunteer work at getWITit Pittsburgh, another org focused on getting women involved in the tech industry, Apicella wants Pittsburgh’s Women in Robotics chapter to be a place where women in the field can learn and, if needed, vent.
“The intention is to activate and support the women who are in this region working in robotics, allowing them to create a safe space where they can voice their concerns, their frustrations, or identify changes that need to be made,” she said. “Sometimes if they’re all at their own separate companies women might not realize they’re having the same challenges and the same struggles.”
As the chapter was recently announced, much of what’s to come is to be determined. If you’re interested in joining and helping the group figure it out, fill out this form and tell the Pittsburgh Robotic Network more about yourself.
P.S. On Monday, Nov. 7, there’s another event similarly designed to support women in robotics and technology: WITCON 2022: Exhilarate. The event hosted by getWITit Pittsburgh is for you if you’re interested in joining women and allies in discovering new ways to sustain and advance careers in technology.Atiya Irvin-Mitchell is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
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