My Experiences in STEM
The difficulties women collectively face in every career frontier are well and accurately documented in today’s world. Women are taken less seriously, and you have to prove yourself more than men in order to earn respect from your peers. I would say that throughout my career what was expected of me has been different from what was expected of my male colleagues. I am, however, very pleased with the progress that has been made at ADM to help combat the challenges I, and many other women, faced earlier in our careers. Today, I know that my contributions are highly valued by my colleagues and the company, and that is a very rewarding feeling.
Moving Women Forward in STEM
From a very young age, women are taught that they are not as valued as men within the STEM industry. That message is delivered to them by the lack of female role models within the STEM industry, the stereotypical gender norms that young girls feel they have to follow, and the overall stigma towards young girls in co-educational schools. If we began to eliminate these gender norms, end the stigma toward women, and produce more female role models within this industry, we would be moving women forward in STEM. We need to create a more inclusive environment that will encourage women to consider a serious career in STEM and offer a career ladder that allows women to balance work with the societal pressure of being a mother.
Women in STEM 5 Years Out
The unfortunate reality is that a lot of the changes needed to give women an equal footing in STEM have not been made. But I see a more progressive generation following mine—both in society and at ADM—and they are motivated to make the changes necessary to ensure that women, and other diverse groups, are treated equally. In five years, I hope to see far more women progressing up the ladder and reaching their career goals. I hope to see companies across the industry making an effort to allow women to fulfill their desires outside of work without having to make disproportionate sacrifices. I am not sure I see us meeting all of our goals in five years—we have a lot of work to do—but by 2030, I think it is possible.