Do you know who Katherine Johnson is? If not, then you should.

cathrine johnson profile

I’m going to start this week’s supplement with a few questions if I may, so let’s get the brain cells working a little on this cold, blustery Sunday morning. Here goes, I’m going to list some names. I want you to think to yourself, have I heard of them and how. Alan Sugar, Neil Armstrong, Nelson Mandela, William Shakespeare, Marco Polo and one more, Louis Pasteur. How did you get on? I’m thinking, most likely very well.

Now for round two, let’s go. Meg Whitman, Nancy J Currie, Emmeline Pankhurst, Ada Lovelace, Dr.Jane Cooke Wright and the last one Katherine Johnson. How did you do that time? perhaps, one or two? I’m guessing you scored higher in round one, would I be right?

This week we celebrated International Woman’s Day, an important moment in the year to help educate us that women have being an equal part and even leading part of creating the world we live in today. What we have to get past, is it being celebrated over one-day, when it needs to be recognised every day.

Above I mentioned, Meg Whitman who is worth an estimated 3.4 billion dollars, making her one of the richest people in the world. Meg Whitman has been responsible as a CEO in making eBay become an 8-billion-dollar company, opposed to the 5.7 million dollars when taking charge. It’s not only eBay, she has been at the head of Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, Dropbox and e-Sports. Technically, if we are going to make comparisons, it would not be with Alan Sugar but more Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos. I bet you’ve heard of those last three names but potentially not Meg Whitman. Why? because, business is for men, success of that magnitude must have only been achieved by a man. Don’t think so, actually there are lots of Meg Whitman’s in business, Anna Botin, CEO of Santander, Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi Co, Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors Company, Adena Friedman, CEO of Nasdaq, imagine that, a woman’s running the US Stock Exchange.

My suggestions let’s not talk about them for one day a year, and make sure that they are being taught in our education system every day, side by side with the male’s we learn about.

Remember this, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” did you know that, that step would never have happened if it was not for Katherine Johnson, the human computer who was responsible for figuring out the orbital mechanics to get the spacecraft both there and back, the hardest challenge of them all, one that stumped all the men that worked at NASA. Oh and whilst we are on it, Nancy J Currie has participated in four space shuttle missions and accrued over a thousand hours in space making her one of the greatest astronauts of our time. Heck of an achievement and who’d have thought, a woman astronaut as well.

Ok, one more, I promise, Charles Babbage distinguished as the MAN who originated the concept of digital programming, or as we know it today, the computer. Here’s the thing, he wrote the paper Analytical Engine with one other, one of the greatest mathematicians ever. This was Ada Lovelace, a FEMALE. I wonder in a modern world; would Ada be allowed to put her name first on such a theory and Charles second?

In every success we’ve ever had, we’ve needed people, individuals not sexes. Men are not the superior sex, just like white was never the superior race. If you’re a man, look close to home, perhaps it is you that needs stay at the home and take care of the kids. Perhaps it’s you that needs to have the tea on the table or perhaps you just need to acknowledge that we are equal. Great things are achieved by magnificent minds, incredible brains or a mentality and bravery to never quit. None of which has anything to do with owning a penis.

Here’s to women, may you continue to take us to new frontiers.

Have a great week.

Paul Blane