What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?
It is important that young girls and women understand early in life that STEM fields can provide many opportunities. School curriculum is one component, but even more important is that successful women leaders in STEM fields need to serve as mentors, role models, and sponsors to these future leaders. I personally prioritize sponsoring young women and help usher them through their own journey into STEM careers. For example, one of my current mentees, whom I met when she was in high school, graduated with a computer engineering degree in May 2023 and has a full-time STEM job after graduation. I will now encourage her to pay it forward based on her own experiences. The analogy I use is “multi-level marketing.” We need to continue to serve and develop the maximum number of STEM role models and advocate to exponentially increase diversity in these fields over time.
Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career.
Women have made big gains in workforce parity and make up roughly half of the workforce in the United States. However, they still only represent about a third of STEM workers. With the demand for STEM roles continuing to increase, a more diverse workforce is critical to meeting these needs. STEM roles are a great way for women to achieve financial stability, work-life balance, and contribute back to society in a meaningful way by helping solve problems with innovation. COVID also brought a whole new dimension to many of these careers by allowing for hybrid or remote work for office workers. Talk about a game changer in the work-life balance arena! In five years, I see the gender gap in STEM continuing to close. It will be commonplace to see a room full of women solving difficult problems, leading delivery of the next innovative product, or having a seat at the table to pitch a new vision on how STEM will change an industry. I am excited to be part of it!
What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?
If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. Step outside of that comfort zone, take on a new risk, support a newcomer – expect some bumps in the road, but take the leap and enjoy the ride.