How STEM Is Changing Our World
STEM is more important today than ever before. As awareness of the significance of STEM has grown, there has been an increased focus on addressing the lack of diversity in the field.
Overcoming Barriers and Closing the Gender Gap
The largest barrier to closing the gender gap in STEM is an implicit cultural bias that women and girls are just not as good at math and science as men and boys. This bias is pervasive, and many women and girls internalize it without realizing they are doing so. We must recognize and understand this bias so that we can more effectively address and combat it. Overcoming this bias will take work, both institutional and individual, but we can go a long way to undercutting it by shining the light on all the incredible women and girls who are already working and succeeding in STEM.
Moving Women Forward in STEM
Women and girls who have expressed an interest in STEM should be nurtured and encouraged. This means providing them with the educational opportunities necessary to progress in their chosen STEM fields and offering them role models and mentors to help guide them along the way.
In my experience, providing women with options for maternity leave and flexible work schedules is particularly important. These accommodations help give women the tools they need to balance work and family so that, if they choose to have a family, they can continue to move forward, progress in their chosen careers, and pursue their passions.
Women in STEM 5 Years Out
Over the course of my career, I have seen encouraging advances among women in STEM, and I personally have been very lucky in the encouragement and opportunities I’ve received. As a partner, I can work with my colleagues to create opportunities and pathways so others in my field may progress. My practice focuses on intellectual property litigation, and we are always looking for women who are adept at learning about new technologies to protect the valuable patents that underpin them.
Women are advancing in STEM fields, and I expect that they will continue to do so over the next five years. Increasingly, women are rejecting the notion that they cannot pursue a career in STEM simply based on their gender. We have a long way to go, but I hope and expect to eventually see women and men equally represented throughout the STEM fields.