Increasing Diversity in STEM

Here are some of the ways we can increase diversity in STEM:

  • Ensure that all students finish high school, and make college affordable and accessible to all high school graduates who exhibit aptitude and interest
  • Make it easier for prospective hires to relocate for STEM jobs, including obtaining visas and relocating families
  • Improve parental leave policies (require new parents—fathers and mothers—to take equal time away from work, and offer flexible return-to-work arrangements)
  • Increase the availability and reduce the cost of high-quality childcare
  • Provide equal access to opportunities and fair evaluations

Barriers to Closing the Gender Gap

  • Candidates from nontraditional backgrounds are often not considered
  • Companies are unwilling to train and grow their employees
  • Workplace cultures make employees feel as if their voices aren’t heard, their work isn’t valued, and that they don’t really belong
  • A lack of mentoring and advocacy for women

Moving Women in STEM Forward

  • When possible, consider people from nontraditional background for STEM roles
  • Commit to training employees who show an aptitude for and interest in STEM
  • Create an inclusive team and company culture
  • Identify and address bad behavior so that work environments are healthy and supportive
  • Ensure that performance evaluations are fair and consistent

Women in STEM 5Years Out

Five years from today, I believe we will see more women:

  • Learning about STEM earlier in their educational experience
  • Will be earning STEM-related degrees
  • Holding STEM-related leadership roles
  • Serving on boards and in the C-suite

I’m not sure we will see all of the above changes in the next five years. However, I’m hopeful that more women in STEM leadership roles will push forward some of the needed changes listed here.