What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?
There are three key actions that will lead to a more diverse STEM environment. First, reaching girls at a younger age is imperative; several studies and other research, that students decide as early as the second grade whether they are good at STEM and whether they like it.
Yet, by the fourth grade, girls’ interest is already waning.
Next, women already working in STEM must continue to find ways to strengthen that pipeline through organizational cultures that support women’s career needs. Flexible work options are vital to ensure we can keep nurturing women as they grow in their STEM careers.
Finally, let’s continue to find creative and inspiring ways to keep a focus on diversity and inclusion. One way we can do it is to celebrate women who are STEM superstars.
At Bureau Veritas, women leaders head up some of our major operations, and I am excited to celebrate them as examples of what women can achieve in STEM.
What barriers do you see to closing the gender gap in STEM?
Challenges to entry still exist in practically every profession. To close the gender gap in STEM, we must find a way to create environments that allow women to flourish. There is a business case for creating more diversity in these critical fields, and we know that diversity is linked to innovation and profitability. If teams include people who think differently, they typically end up with far better results, and more innovation down the road.
How is the world changing with respect to STEM?
Millennials, and even younger generations, continue to set the bar for the modern workplace. This is also happening in STEM, where more and more employees are accustomed to working and socializing in inclusive environments. In this regard, we are at the vanguard of diversity and inclusion, and I predict the trend will grow stronger as the world sees the value of bringing all kinds of perspectives to the table. In fact, it’s never been a better time for women to pursue careers in STEM, or a better time for the women already making their mark in STEM fields to double down on their goals and contributions.
In my own leadership role, I will continue to encourage women at Bureau Veritas to seek opportunities that can take them out of their comfort zone, leading to positive career changes.