How Women Can Make It in STEM CareersMonday, March 13, 2017
Although things are changing, the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields are still largely male-dominated. There has been a recent push to get more women into STEM, but things are starting to slow down. If you're interested in a career in one of these fields, you're probably aware that it can be tough for women to make it. A number of things can make it difficult, from sexism in the workplace to long hours that make it hard to balance your career with having a family. But if you want to work in a science or technology field, you need to be prepared to tough it out.
Keep Educating Yourself
One of the things you should do if you want to make it as a woman in a STEM field is to keep working on self-improvement. You usually need to be degree-educated to enter one of these fields, although it isn't always essential. Whether or not you go to university, it's important to keep learning and educating yourself so you can keep up with colleagues and others in the field. Whether that means completing a PhD or just keeping up with the latest research in your subject area, it will ensure that you have the knowledge and experience you need to succeed.
Choose Your Employers Carefully
Who you work for can make a huge difference to the direction of your career. Some employers might be more supportive of female employees, recognising the unique difficulties they might face such as pregnancy and parenthood and helping to address them. When you're looking for work, you can use a recruitment company that will support you in your search and treat you as an individual. However, it's also important to recognise that many workplaces may not immediately be the ideal place for women to work. You should look out for employers that are open to change, with workplaces you might be able to influence positively.
Be Prepared to Fight
STEM is getting better for women but, like many other industries, there are still many issues to address. If you want to make your mark, you may need to be prepared to fight for yourself and other women in the workplace. You might find that you come up against resistance from colleagues or that you struggle to get ahead. You will often need to be prepared to stick up for yourself, be assertive, and keep pushing for the things you want.
Be a Role Model to Women and Girls
Staying motivated to continue your career can be hard. However, one thing that can help to keep you motivated is knowing that you can be a role model to other women and young girls. There are several ways you can do this, including acting as a mentor to junior colleagues, students, and school pupils. It's a great way to help other women into STEM fields and give them the support and encouragement they need.
Working in a STEM career can be tough for a woman, but it can be rewarding too. You might face challenges but overcoming them only makes you stronger.