Closing the Gender Gap in STEM
STEM fields are still largely dominated by men. This means that young women have fewer role models to whom they can relate.
I had wonderful mentors who guided me and helped shape my career. And yet, looking back, I realize that all of my mentors until I went to medical school were men. So I consciously mentor younger women, and I am aware of these sometimes unconscious barriers. I do my best to instill in these women the kind of confidence I see more often in their male counterparts. And I encourage them to embrace the support they will undoubtedly receive from male mentors as well.
Moving Women Forward in STEM
We can start by removing cultural barriers: changing how we approach math and science education for children as early as elementary school, reframing the narrative around girls’ skills in math and science; and making sure we encourage girls to pursue STEM subjects. We also have to create more opportunities for young women to compete in these fields, including providing a clearer picture of what career paths and jobs are out there in STEM.
As a lawyer, it is truly an honor to be recognized for my work in a STEM field. That’s exactly the kind of open thinking that will make our field more approachable and attract women to STEM careers in labs, classrooms, or courtrooms.
Women in STEM 5 Years down the Road
I think opportunities for women in STEM will continue to improve. The more women who are working in these professions, the easier it will be for girls to imagine a future doing similar work.
I have noticed that some women in STEM tend to downplay their accomplishments, which I find interesting. I can think of several brilliant women I know—including a neuroscience professor at a highly esteemed institution—who are somewhat nonchalant about their accomplishments. I think this quality of being understated can be an asset when dealing with clients. I have found a lot of value in being relatable. People feel like they can tell me things and talk with me comfortably, rather than feel intimidated by a high-powered big law persona.