It’s been documented that having more women involved in the STEM field leads to greater results for everyone. Yet, women still face many barriers to joining the industry. It can be discouraging to experience gender bias in the workplace and that keeps many women out of STEM. However, it’s important to keep trying to help change the industry. Here are three pieces of advice to help women in STEM succeed.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable
Something that stops many women from applying for new opportunities is the feeling of being unprepared or uncomfortable stepping into a new role. Statistically, women don’t apply for a job unless they meet all of the requirements, while men will apply to roles even when they don’t have all of the qualifications. The fear of being uncomfortable keeps women from trying new things. Women need to get more comfortable with the feeling of being uncomfortable and step outside of their comfort zone more often and discover new opportunities. You may think you wouldn’t like or be good at computer coding, so you never try. Then, you may discover that you actually do have a talent and passion for the field and end up pursuing it in college.
Push past gender stereotypes
It’s challenging to pursue a career when you know you will be in the minority group. STEM fields are currently dominated by men and will likely remain that way for some time. Because so many men make up the field, it’s likely that women will be subjected to actions and opinions from those with implicit bias. While it will be tough, women in STEM should try to succeed in spite of this bias, and do so with grace. Don’t let the bias that you face from others make you doubt your worth or make you think you’re not capable of great achievements. Show everyone that you have a unique perspective to offer and were accepted into the major or hired at the company for a reason.
Network to success
Networking is an essential skill in any industry, but it is especially crucial for young women in STEM. Having meaningful relationships will help you both enter into the field and continue to progress into higher positions. A friend or professional connection may introduce you to someone else who then informs you about a job opportunity, or someone may encourage you to join a robotics club that then leads to you becoming interested in the STEM field and then pursuing a career in it. You may not think much of these interactions, but they can lead to great opportunities that you otherwise would never have had.