Now is the time of year when thoughts turn to gifts — but what do you get for the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) expert who has everything? Lucky for you and your STEM-lady friends, we've collected the best holiday 2017 gifts for women in STEM for this most generous of time periods, all of which fund individual artists, feminist initiatives, or STEM organizations that support women and girls as they pursue their passions. Plus, to be frank, they're really cool.
Getting girls and women interested in STEM fields when they're young, and supporting them as they begin careers and make world-changing discoveries, is seriously important. And gender parity in these fields is occurring slowly. According to research done in 2013, only 28.4 percent of all the research and development employees in science worldwide are female, and only 11 percent of all engineers in the U.S. are female. There's no reason beyond sexism and entrenched gender roles for women not to be achieving their dreams by digging up dinosaurs, sending people to the moon, creating robots or wielding test tubes — which is why it's so important to support the ones who do, and give to the organizations that work to make sure it happens. Whether it's a specific discipline or a delight in STEM in general, we've got your gift-giving covered.
2A STEMBox Subscription
Got a budding scientist in your life who'd love to have a delivery of fun, weird scientific equipment and projects every month? That's the idea behind STEMBox, which is targeted at kids 8-13 and starts at $87.00 for three months. Each one comes with a bunch of proper scientific tools, instructions, tips and online tutorials.
3Mary Anning Notebook
The people behind Finding Ada, the organization that aims to raise the profile of mathematician and coder Ada Lovelace and also support women across STEM fields, are behind this notebook celebrating paleontologist Mary Anning, who famously discovered many dinosaur bones but was still forbidden from being considered a "scientist."
5Nevertheless, She Persisted Marie Curie Tote
6"Sophie & The Airplane," Kristi Grigsby
STEM Girls Books produces books written and illustrated by women to encourage little girls to get interested in science and math — and one of their books, Sophie & The Airplane, is so deliciously illustrated that even adult aeronautical engineers will love to have it on their shelves.
7Female Scientist Prints, Beyond Curie
What was once a hugely successful campaign on Kickstarter by designer Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya is now the shop Beyond Curie, which highlights 35 other amazing women in science who deserve to have profiles as high as Curie's. Every scientist has her own excellent poster, and the entire set, produced in either stickers or as digital downloads, is also available for $155.00. Try to resist snapping them up for yourself.
8Grace Hopper Poster
Ignotofsky is the author of the runaway book success Women In Science, and her delightful illustrations of the world's greatest female scientists in history are all hand-produced at her Etsy shop. From Mae Jemison to Grace Hopper, a poster of your friend's greatest STEM hero makes for a brilliant gift.
9Donation To Expanding Your Horizons
A lot of work is put into encouraging young female scientists and girls interested in STEM to be part of the STEM world, and the Expanding Your Horizons Network is one of the biggest, working with high and middle-school girls around the world to spark a passion for science. Donating to EYHN funds girls to attend conferences and workshops that can inspire a lifelong path.
11The Scimoji App
Does it still count as a gift if it's free? For the sake of these amazing emojis, I vote yes. The Scimoji app was made as part of General Electric's #BalanceTheEquation campaign, which aims for equal representation at the company by 2020, and it features emojis of some of the most amazing women in STEM of all time, from Emmy Noether to Alice Ball. Download it to your pal's phone, or download it yourself to surprise her with a STEM-emoji a day.
12AstroGrrrl USB Stick
I defy you to find something cuter than this. ScienceGrrl is a grassroots community of female scientists and supporters who produce an annual report on how girls are choosing STEM, and this USB stick, which actually hides the information inside the head of a female astronaut, is the most adorable way to fund their research I've seen all year.
13Sponsor A Student For Latinas In STEM
Diversity remains a constant issue in STEM; women of color in particular often face bias in their chosen industry that prevents them from getting ahead. To help Latina girls get over those hurdles, Latinas In STEM offers support from high school all the way to early career aid, and donations can go to anything from funding a girl's presence at a workshop to sponsoring conferences among young scientists.
14Smart Girls Lightbulb Notebooks
For the bright spark who's always full of ideas, these notebooks made of recycled materials come courtesy of Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, the organization devoted to feminist principles in girls that funds projects like #STEM10, a profile documentary of 10 inspiring women across STEM fields.
15Dark Matter Dress, Shenova
Shenova is the best science-focused label out there for women: it's designed by a woman, Holly Renee, using digital printing and a zero-waste process, and is produced to order. The Dark Matter dress stands alongside dresses flaunting the periodic table, circuitry, MRI scans and molecules, but it's one of the most elegant, featuring the largest-ever map of distant galaxies done by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and its Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS).
16Support STEM Role Models With FabFems
If your friend is a magnificent mentor to other people in her field, a donation to FabFems in her name can help her carry on the good work beyond her own life. FabFems, run by the National Girls Collaborative Project, helps find mentors in STEM fields for young girls and women at key points in their careers.