Welcome to the July issue of our FLATE FOCUS newsletter. As our country focuses on increasing the number of STEM workers at all levels of the workforce, one obvious, but elusive source is young women and girls. Women are still significantly underrepresented in most, but not all STEM fields. We can do something about that, but to borrow a phrase, “it takes a village.” We all have to participate in the challenge, and the challenge includes changing some of the ways we do business.
All of these elements cannot stop at the end of recruiting programs. In mostly male dominated STEM education programs and workplaces, women continue to need these program elements during their tenure in school as well as in the workplaces they enter. Our college programs and workplaces have to be warm and welcoming. It has to enriching. It has to be fair. It has to honor and respect every woman as an equal professional.
There is revealing data available if you look for it. But, to answer these questions, I look to my own experiences, and to those of my female STEM professional colleagues. Our many and mixed experiences map easily to published reports. Many of our lives are marked with life changing events that are gender related. Our stories include the good, the bad and the ugly. Some stories should not have to be experienced by anyone, and most certainly, should not be experienced by today’s rising women STEM professionals.
Take a few moments to read the FOCUS, and take some time to focus yourself on what you can do to support young women wanting to, or already considering a STEM career. How can "YOU" help them get from here to there? How can you make a difference? How can we help?