Campus and Community

Laetitia Garriott: “We need to celebrate how women are shaping the future through Science and Technology”

The entrepreneur and investor gave a lecture this Thursday and highlighted the important role played by women to the development of several areas.

Laetitia Garriott, entrepreneur and investor with more than 20 years of experience in the technology and financial sector, founder and CEO of Global Space Ventures, started her presentation with an inspiring story: “About two years ago, my daughter attended a presentation by the Apollo astronauts, and asked them why there were no girls on stage. ‘We weren’t as smart as we are now’, astronaut Russell Schweickart replied”.

The session “Women in Science and Technology – How have things changed for women, and how have things changed because of women”, was organised by the US embassy in Portugal and was live streamed via Zoom from ISR Lisboa facilities, located at IST Alameda campus, as part of dr. Laetitia Garriott visit to ISR Lisboa, this Thursday, July 8.

Laetitia Garriott highlighted several women who stand out in various fields, such as space, biotechnology, microbiology, entrepreneurship, etc. “I think that we have an obligation to get more women into Science and Technology”, she said. “I actually think that we need to celebrate how women are shaping the future through science and technology,” she said.

As member of the XPRIZE Board of Directors, Laetitia Garriott had the opportunity to speak about the XPrize Carbon Removal competition, the largest incentive prize in history that aims to encourage the creation of solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans, encouraging the community to fight climate change and rebalance Earth’s carbon cycle. “We would love to see a very high female participation”, she said.

Laetitia Garriott shared how the GII Junior Summit ’95 marked her career path. “I believe that idea contests, or other ways of opening our minds, allow us to meet new people who might become friends for life and, more important, it gives us a feeling that we all have a voice and a role to play to make the future happen. This has stayed in my mind over the years, and somehow gave me confidence and motivation to do my part”, she stressed.

She also highlighted her pride in being part of MoMath Board of Trustees, whose mission is to enhance public understanding and perception of mathematics. “I think that bringing girls and children in general, and encourage them in Mathematics and STEM from an early age is crucial”, she stressed. “A lot of our recent work has also been focused on the fact that we are making math accessible to everyone. Because it’s really important that the programs we offer address the diversity of the audience, so that everyone has an opportunity to get involved” she added.

At the end of the session, the audience, mostly female, had the opportunity to ask the speaker some questions about this topic.