The Evolution of Women in Signal Processing and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

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The Evolution of Women in Signal Processing and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

By: 
Rabab Kreidieh Ward

When I began writing this 75th anniversary article celebrating women in signal processing (SP), I reread the 1998 editorial titled “Fifty Years of Signal Processing: 1948–1998” [1] . At that time, IEEE had more than 300,000 members in 150 nations, the world’s largest professional technical Society. Within the IEEE umbrella, there were 37 IEEE Societies and technical groups, and the IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) was the oldest among its many Societies.

When I began writing this 75th anniversary article celebrating women in signal processing (SP), I reread the 1998 editorial titled “Fifty Years of Signal Processing: 1948–1998” [1]. At that time, IEEE had more than 300,000 members in 150 nations, the world’s largest professional technical Society. Within the IEEE umbrella, there were 37 IEEE Societies and technical groups, and the IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) was the oldest among its many Societies.

The 50th anniversary piece was a celebration of the major players in SP and the historic growth of the SPS. It featured many important scientists in SP and the SPS, including numerous blurbs, quotes, and personal recollections from male leaders in the SPS. The first nod to a woman inventor doesn’t occur until the 1970s, mentioning Susan A. Webber in the field of subband coding breakthroughs. Readers have to wait until the 1980s section to see the face and profile of an SPS woman member: Delores Etter, the Society’s first woman president, in 1988.

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