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While there has been a push to get more women into STEAM-related fields (which is to say science, technology, engineering, art, and math), we still have a long way to go. Women make up roughly half of the American workforce, but are particularly underrepresented in STEM fields, with only a quarter of the science and engineering workforce composed of women.
While these changes need to be actively encouraged at the institutional level, they also need to be supported at the cultural one. We’ve started to get more representation of women as scientists, engineers, and mathematicians on the big and small screens, but, too often, those depictions are masculinely-coded, suggesting that, in order to succeed as a woman in one of these “masculine” fields, women have to downplay their femininity. It’s why characters like Arrow‘s Felicity Smoak or Black Panther‘s Shuri can feel so inspiring—they are pop culture examples of characters who are both brilliant and feminine.
Svaha, a female-owned clothing company with a mission to encourage and inspire girls and women to embrace STEAM and encourage people of all genders to shatter gender stereotypes, recognizes the demand for geek fashion that doesn’t operate along a gender binary. Originally launched in 2015, when co-founder Jaya Iyer was looking for science or technology-themed clothes for her daughter and “got sucked into a black hole of gender stereotypes.”
What began as a Kickstarted company with the original mission of making gender-inclusive nerd clothing for kids has since expanded into adult clothing as well. Last year, Svaha launched their STEAM Angels collection, made up of clothes that both expresses a love of science and other STEAM-related fields and is feminine.
“When I see someone wearing a Svaha dress and excitedly telling people what the design means (latest example being our Herd Immunity Dress) and then show them that the dresses have functional pockets, this is what makes me proud of what I have created,” says Jaya Iyer, the co-founder of Svaha.
Svaha has some other, very cool projects in the works. They recently entered into a new partnership with the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) and are working with former NASA astronaut and textile artist Karen Nyberg to create new fashion designs based on Nyberg’s time on the International Space Station.
If you’re interested in checking out Svaha’s merchandise, enter our giveaway. We’re partnering with Svaha for a $200 gift card. Find out the details below…