Breaking Through Gender Roles
What if you discover yourself in a place where you are in an opposite situation?
What if women go out and make the bread for the family while men stay at home cooking and taking care of the household?
What if girls were educated before boys and pioneered leading fields that males dominated?
We are now in an age where women are breaking through predominantly male-dominated fields.
One of these women is Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon, a child prodigy in mathematics, computer science, and Techpreneur CEO of Stemettes.
Born on June 24, 1990, Anne-Marie Imafidon loved and cherished her childhood. Anne-Marie grew up in Walthamstow, East London; Anne-Marie was able to explore things she found exciting and felt that by taking what she could get and enjoying it, she learned to live on very little.
Anne-Marie came from a stable and supportive home. Chris Imafidon, her father, is an ophthalmologist from the Edo State of Nigeria who moved to London with his mother, Ann.
Among Anne-Marie Imafidon’s siblings, she is the oldest of five children: four girls and a boy who arrived as a twin at the end. There was nothing in the house of Anne-Marie Imafidon's family that the boys didn't do and nothing that the girls did because there weren't any boys or girls roles during division of labor.
Chris and Ann Imafidon made it a priority for all their children to reach their potential.
Anne-Marie was encouraged to be curious and insulated from gender bias in her play. She could take apart a VCR to learn how it worked, and her teachers worked together to explain that the “messing about” questions were not a reflection of her ability, but of her need to be challenged.
Anne-Marie Imafidon’s Education
Anne-Marie had a unique perspective on the world.
During Year 3, at seven years old, Anne-Marie Imafidon’s intellect was first identified at school. Anne-Marie started to realize she was exceeding her age-related expectations.
Understandably stressed during an OFSTED inspection, Anne-Marie's teacher made a mistake in the calculations on the whiteboard. Anne-Marie Imafidon noticed this right away, but rather than humiliate her; she kindly offered her instructor a mathematical method of reaching the correct answer by a different approach. Anne Marie's academic accomplishments began to pick up in Year 3.
By age 10, she could speak six languages and had two GCSEs in maths and computing; by the age of eleven, she was the country's youngest female to complete A-level computing. While such success could be intimidating to some, Anne-Marie handled it with grace. The most thrilling aspect of her academic triumph, as Anne-Marie recalls, was the McDonald's her father brought her to once she received her results.
In 2003, Imafidon received a scholarship from the British government to attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, at age 13. Upon turning 15 in 2005, she was admitted to the University of Oxford for a degree program where Amy Jadesimi is also an alumna.
After starting a master's degree at the University of Oxford at 17, Anne-Marie Imafidon graduated with a master's degree at 19 in June 2010. At age 20, she is one of the youngest to have received a Master's Degree in Computer Science from the University of Oxford. Imafidon is fluent in six languages.
Early Career of Anne-Marie Imafidon
Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon was not only the youngest student at the university, but she was also a woman in a predominantly male society. However, Anne-Marie claims that she didn't consider herself a woman at the time. Dr. Imafidon worked for several prestigious businesses after earning her master's degree.
When she started working, she discovered she was the only girl on the team. Fortunately, she wasn't the only one on her floor and didn't feel alone. She worked in the technology department as an enterprise and collaboration strategist at Deutsche Bank. Deutsche had its own social media platform, and she was part of a five-person team that managed and developed it for 100,000 employees.
It wasn't until she attended the Grace Hopper Celebration in the United States, where Anne-Marie Imafidon was one of three and a half thousand women, that she realized many women in computing. Deutsche sponsors the Grace Hopper Celebration. In 2012, someone could speak about it on a panel alongside Facebook and other strange people when businesses were still in their early stages.
The keynote speaker was Nora Denzel, who stated that the number of women in technology has decreased over the previous 30 years. Anne-Marie initially felt this was an American issue until she returned to the UK and found that the Institute of Physics had recently published their 'No Girl Left Behind' study and that we have the same problem there. She hadn't understood that being a woman in technology was also a minority, although a decreasing one.
In order to fill a vacuum in the market for motivating girls to pursue STEM jobs, Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon launched Stemettes in February 2013. A non-profit organization founded and led by Dr. Imafidon aims to encourage young females to pursue jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
The goal was to shift the focus from technology to food, fun, and simply enjoying being with people to see if it would work and improve things. The project took off faster than she could have dreamed, wished, or imagined.
Beginning in February, she was in meetings at Number 10 with figures like Michael Gove, David Willetts, and Belinda Parmar, addressing an issue she had uncovered by chance a year before. She tried to take a step back at this time since she was still working and it had taken over her life, but it was never really an option.
Sponsorships and collaborations offer were starting to pour in. They received more funding, and it evolved into a full-fledged social company with a member of staff and suitable processes. Dr. Imafidon worked part-time until she could no longer combine her career at Deutsche and Anne-Marie Imafidon’s Stemettes.
The initial Stemettes came from local schools, and there were more volunteers than girls during the inaugural event. They had worked with 17,200 females at the time of the latest count.
Nowadays, while they don't generally turn females away, they have waiting lists. They would also like to accomplish more in more distant areas of the country, as well as in Wales and Ireland.
Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon’s Stemettes has helped tens of thousands of girls realize their STEM potential. Imafidon has also launched the Stemettes STEM resources app, which thousands of high schoolers use.
Anne-Marie Imafidon co-founded Outbox Incubator, the world's first technology incubator for adolescent girls. The incubator offered initial cash, intense mentoring, and assistance to outstanding young women aged 22 and under with innovative business and technology ideas and visual concepts.
In 2014, Anne-Marie was in Brussels for the Innovation Convention and noticed a handful of girls on stage. One of them, Ciara Judge, was on stage with her group after winning the Google Global Science Prize.
They're Irish girls and were up on stage as part of a Generation Z panel. They were all under 18, four girls and three boys, and the contrast between the chances they all had and what they had all done was like night and day.
People were offering opportunities to boys, and she wanted to know who was doing the same for the girls.
When Anne-Marie and her team asked these young girls what adults might do to support them, Ciara said, "Don't simply pat me on the back for thinking outside the box. Help me and encourage me in living outside of that box.”
Dr. Imafidon and Judge collaborated with Salesforce to create an Incubator program in which individuals live together or in close quarters for a prolonged time. Ciara Judge trains aspiring girls about business and product development and then introduces them to investors. They successfully operated it for six weeks throughout the summer vacation in a big property in Tulse Hill, South London.
The sessions would take place during the day. However, because it was a tech residential, they were just as likely to relax in their spare time as they were to teach each other how to code or assist in constructing a prototype.
In 2017, after two years, they are still maintaining those contacts; the legacy lives on in that network. They would do it again if the correct kind of assistance were provided. It is expensive, but it also requires a lot of energy. So they're looking at how to do it in a way that scales physically or in terms of impact.
Anne-Marie Imafidon’s Work
Dr. Imafidon hosts the Women Tech Charge podcast for the Evening Standard. Anne-Marie Imafidon’s podcast conducts interviews with famous people in the Tech industry, such as Jack Dorsey, Rachel Riley, and Lewis Hamilton.
Imafidon is also a trustee of the Institute for the Future of Work, which researches and develops ways to improve work and working lives. Imafidon is also working with media companies like BBC and 20th Century Fox to put more tech role models on screen so young people have role models to look up to in everyday life.
Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon strives for more diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.
You can read about Joan Clarke’s participation to help break the Enigma Cipher, the only woman to work with Alan Turing, the father of computer science and artificial intelligence.
Inspirational Women in IT
Anne-Marie is frequently mentioned in lists of the most inspiring women in IT. This comes with a certain amount of responsibility, which she is always conscious of. Imafidon holds herself to a specific standard by which she acts appropriately. She never takes advantage of anyone and is very protective of all the young women they deal with and what they do.
She believes that if you have power, you must exercise it and explore what else you can do and how you can move things so that things change for people.
Anne-Marie recalls being around ten years old, having completed her GCSE, and thinking, "I adore ICT, I love Technology, I love the Web."
She saw Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the Web, and one can only think how many people are now employed due to his influence on the world. She would love to leverage her enthusiasm for technology to make such an effect.
A number of female tech entrepreneurs are dominating an industry dominated by men. In addition to Anita Schjøll Brede, Rana el Kaliouby, and Neha Narkede, there are a number of other prominent female leaders and Anne-Marie Imafidon is also one of these women. The world has been greatly impacted by all of them thanks to their respective talents and contributions to technology.
Imafidon on Mentoring
Anne-Marie values mentoring and has had plenty of chances throughout her life. She believes that it is always beneficial to be able to seek advice, speak things out before doing them, and have sounding boards.
But, more importantly, in terms of advancing your career, going ahead, and making a difference, you need sponsors, individuals who, while you don't ask them to do things for you, see enough of what you're doing to act on your behalf when you're not present.
Imafidon’s Mission Maths
Anne-Marie believes that math and math enjoyment should be normalized in the same way that reading and writing are.
She wants to permit people to appreciate math and not be frightened of it. She would like math to become less elite and more accessible, similar to poetry.
Awards and Recognition of Anne-Marie Imafidon
Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon was awarded the prestigious title of Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2017 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth for her services to young women in the United Kingdom, with a specialty in sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Anne-Marie, who came to Buckingham Palace with her father, Prof. Chris Imafidon, is the youngest scientist to get this honor, since most young people receive the Queen's accolade for sports.
Following the ceremony and reception at the Queen's house, Annie-Marie, CEO and Founder of Stemettes, proceeded to Kensington Palace for a follow-up and ice cream party.
Anne-Marie Imafidon’s Other Recognition
Honorary doctorates have been awarded to her by the Open University, Glasgow Caledonian University, Bristol University, Kent University, and Coventry University. In June 2017, she was an honorary fellow at Keble College, Oxford, and a visiting professor at the University of Sunderland.
In 2020, Computer Weekly named Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon the UK's most influential woman in tech.
Anne-Marie Imafidon Net Worth
As the CEO and Co-Founder of Stemettes, Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon’s source of income is mainly from being a successful mathematician, computer scientist, and entrepreneur. Anne-Marie Imafidon’s net worth is estimated at $5 Million as of 2021.
Key Takeaway: Anne-Marie Imafidon
We should not allow ourselves, especially young girls, to accept what is handed to us just because of our gender.
Women are not weak because of their gender, but rather strong for the brilliance of every woman’s intelligence and mind.
Anne-Marie Imafidon felt this firsthand. She did not know that the path she took had scarcity in the feminine presence and saw that opportunities were not as easy for young girls.
As a young girl who pursued Mathematics and Tech, she wanted everyone to have opportunities with the same amount of opened doors Imafidon received.
As an entrepreneur, we can build a business that the consumer needs, but have we thought about a business model that can help shape the market by specifics of the vision we need to change.
We can imitate Anne-Marie Imafidon by copying her core values, not just as an entrepreneur and computer scientist but as a woman: the importance of teamwork, having true grit and a woman advocating for other women.