What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?
We have made great strides over the past few decades; however, we still have a long way to go. We need to continue to be vigilant about promoting STEM and the focus should target youth- specifically elementary through middle school ages. My daughters were exposed to robotics clubs, science camps, and various other STEM field activities at an early age. This fueled a curiosity that enabled them to gain the confidence needed to pursue it. Corporations have the opportunity to play a big role in this area. The development of STEM day camps and summer programs fosters a passion for this field. Diverse youth need to see diverse leaders in STEM fields. When this happens, a career in science seems possible. It gives them hope and can ignite the drive to pursue STEM fields.
What can be done to move women forward in STEM?
I am a firm believer that we should always move individuals forward on MERIT. And there are plenty of highly qualified women who have earned that merit to move forward. Our job is to ensure “she” is given a fair opportunity to enter the process. This may include having to widen the search net to ensure enough female applicants are included. Hiring and progression/ promotion procedures need to evolve to ensure this tactic is designed into the process.
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?
When I started my career 30 years ago, I was definitely in the minority. Today, I am still in the minority, but I feel supported and valued for my differences. My voice and perspective is being respected more than ever before. Organizations have programs to ensure young females entering STEM fields find communities that help them find their voice. A female in STEM industries is valued in today’s marketplace.
Approximately 50% of the world’s population is female. It’s a highly competitive market out there and companies realize that diversity of perspectives in their employee base is a tenet for success. Corporations are embracing concepts that put them in a place to succeed, including ensuring that their employee base mirrors the demographics of their customers. To the girls and young women considering entering a STEM industry, now is the time. You are a highly sought after asset in the business world. Take advantage of it! Find your voice. Be your authentic self. Your diverse perspective is a differentiator in today’s market.