“WAKE stands for Women’s Alliance for Knowledge Exchange. It is a non-profit organization which we founded in January 2015. It is actually an extension of what Heather Ramsey and I have been doing for the last 15 years. The two of us have worked together on a number of women in STEM programmes that focus mainly on all elements of technology including training and mentorship,” reveals Trish Tierney.
While providing access to education, training and resources, especially focused on technology, WAKE also strives to create strong support networking groups, thereby empowering women within their own communities. “What we have come to believe through our work is that women in different communities already know what is needed in the environment they live in. They really don’t need people coming from outside telling them what they should do, as they are already working actively for their communities. What they do lack is access to, and familiarity with, technology and mentors which taken together can really amplify their work. This is where WAKE comes in. We invest in organizations, linking them to mentors, technology, trainings and resources. This, in turn, helps women already involved in socio-economic activities become productive on a greater scale,” says Trish.
Acknowledging the critical role of technology in the 21st century, Trish strongly believes it makes lives easier particularly for women. “The possibilities of technology helping women are endless. But first, women have to understand what it is essentially all about; because in today’s world, if you don’t know that, you will get stuck. It is equally important to recognize the positive impact of women in STEM on global women’s rights by providing access to technology and equipping the female gender with tech skills that will help them improve their world, not just in terms of technology but also education, health, society and so on. Technology is knowledge. And if you get that, the possibilities are limitless.”
Acknowledging the critical role of technology in the 21st century, Trish strongly believes it makes lives easier particularly for women.
The initiative has had great response so far with WAKE instigating a stellar network of women belonging to different careers to come together and do something for the good of society. “Our partners include women belonging to different industries both in the US as well as in other countries. People are very excited to see what we can do, so it’s a good start. Our primary focus is tech utilization for good. In this day and age, if you are not familiar with technology you become inefficient, so there is a lot of emphasis on helping women build that essential knowledge. What is interesting to know is that there are lots of women especially in STEM fields who are eager to help but they are either too busy with their careers or do not know how to connect with such people to help. So we want to make that connection,” she says.
Indeed, a sustainable society – built on social justice and productive communities – is only possible by creating a global connection between women, and linking them with technology and the right resources.
Tracing her footsteps and looking back, Trish concludes, “Personally, I think my greatest achievement has been my contribution to connecting women leaders with females around the world and building a global network. Through these connections, you realize women’s struggles on a day-to-day basis. It is through networking that we can help each other.”