What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?
To increase diversity in the STEM fields, it’s important that companies continue to award diversity scholarships and create support groups to provide growth opportunities. I also believe that diverse individuals should share their personal journeys, highlighting struggles and obstacles they faced and overcame. Sharing these stories will help younger professionals feel supported and gain confidence that they too can also overcome these obstacles and enjoy successful careers in STEM.
What barriers do you see to closing the gender gap in STEM?
Unfortunately, implicit bias still exists. It manifests itself in many, often subtle ways. Maybe a female employee loses out on a growth opportunity because she has to take her children to a doctor’s appointment. Or maybe some employees don’t view a woman as “committed” because of her flexible work schedule. We must continue to actively combat these biases and ensure that all employees – no matter their background or life situation – are given a seat at the table and the opportunity to excel in organizations.
Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?
In high school, I was the only one of my friends who wanted to enter a STEM field. I did not know much about engineering, but I knew I liked math and science, so I felt engineering could be a fit for me. At the University of Illinois, there were many more men than women in my engineering classes. Women remain the minority in the STEM fields in which I work today as an intellectual property attorney. Throughout my career, I have found that success comes when you are confident and embrace who you are. After all, what makes you different also makes you special.
Being a woman in the STEM field is not easy – it takes hard work and determination. But I firmly believe that if you stay motivated and always stand up for yourself, you will make it far. As women in STEM, we can’t hesitate to speak up or fight for what we believe in – for ourselves and for those who will follow in our footsteps.