My Own STEM Experience
As a woman in STEM, I have had the great fortune of having many female mentors. From my very first day as a junior associate in a law firm, senior women have taken the time to sit down with me and answer any questions I have had about our law practice in general or navigating this practice as a junior woman. These mentor relationships guided me as I learned not only how to be a trial lawyer and best serve my clients, but also how to be a working mother and best serve my family as well. The value of these female mentors is immeasurable. As a means of giving back, I aim to share my time and advice with junior women to, hopefully, give them the same feelings of inclusion and support that I experienced in my career.
Moving Women Forward in STEM
We need to support working mothers in STEM fields. Highly educated and trained women are being squeezed between the demands of their jobs and the demands of their families. Retaining these women is imperative if we are to increase workplace diversity—both gender diversity and diversity in general. Parents are great multitaskers, project managers, and negotiators! Implementing parent-friendly practices, including generous parental leave policies, back-up childcare options, and flexible in-person work requirements, can provide necessary support to working moms. Even something as simple and thoughtful as making sure nursing moms have a dedicated space where they can feed their babies or pump at conferences or team meetings is essential to making these moms feel recognized and included.
Where I See Women in STEM in Five Years
Just like today, in five years, women will be in every science, technology, engineering, and mathematics field, working to advance their fields and achieve the impossible. The difference between today and five years will be representation—the number of women will grow in both entry-level and mid-level positions, as well as positions of authority and leadership. Better representation at all levels in STEM fields will lead to different perspectives, which will spark increased creativity, faster problem-solving, and better decision-making.