Ada Lovelace is hailed as the world’s first computer programmer. Katherine Johnson was an early leader in physics, math, and space sciences, winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Despite women pioneering many STEM fields, as of the 2019 census, only 27% of STEM workers were women. While women face many challenges in these fields, there are many ways to overcome them.
From a young age, women tend to be discouraged in STEM subjects and lack the confidence to pursue them. When drawing a mathematician, all children are more likely to draw a male than a female. Combating this stereotype needs to begin at a young age where girls are encouraged in STEM subjects and know that they can do anything. As adults, women need to be reassured of the same facts and see examples of others who are successful in STEM careers.
Finding a Mentor
In some fields, finding a female mentor is difficult as there are so few out there, and many see others as competition instead of allies. A mentor doesn’t have to be in the exact same field as you. They can come from similar backgrounds and have achievements that match your goals, so look outside your immediate field to any woman you admire.
Focusing on Recruitment and Opportunity
Though more people are aware of the underrepresentation of women in STEM, particularly women of color, they still are not being actively recruited enough in the workplace. Women tend to have fewer opportunities in the general workforce because they are seen as family caregivers, and that also applies in STEM fields. There are a few ways to combat this.
Start Your Own STEM Business
If you can’t find a position and have the interest, start your own business. Forming an LLC, while requiring different things in each state, is not too difficult and provides benefits like limiting financial liability and having fewer paperwork requirements. If you don’t want to do it yourself, online formation services cover everything you need to get started. Then, you’ll have the opportunity to focus on hiring capable women so shine brightly, whatever field you’re in.
Boost Your Resume
If you’re getting overlooked, try taking a few applicable professional development courses. They are usually fairly short and provide an assessment of your skills and a certificate at the conclusion. For instance, if you have experience in project management, you can build on that by applying for an advanced certified scrum master course. This way, you can help members of a team with collaboration and communication. This could open up more opportunities for you and make you look more enticing to recruiters.
Turning Challenges Into Opportunities
Women in STEM face daily challenges in terms of acceptance, pay equity, mentorship, opportunities, and more. At the same time, legislation, awareness, and an increasing number of scholarships are all helping these issues become less and less prominent. As a woman in male-dominated industries, you may need to go the extra mile by starting a business or taking additional professional development courses, looking for mentorship, and encouraging others. To stay up to date on technology news and information, visit All Technical Talk Here.
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