Discovering the Underrepresented, Underestimated Women in STEM
STEM Women in Technology International (WITI) partnered with 451 Alliance and Robert Half Technology to survey women working in STEM and see how they felt about their chosen career paths.
For a woman working in STEM, it is likely her career path was influenced early on in her life. The majority of the women surveyed said their initial interest in the field started in high school. By being exposed to STEM at a younger age, a woman will feel more confident about her capabilities when she enters what is a predominantly male field.
The majority of the women surveyed said their careers were highly influenced and enhanced by the presence of some type of a career mentor. Sixty-seven percent said that having a career mentor provided them with greater career satisfaction, and 75 percent of those women said their past or present managers were the ones who fulfilled that mentorship.
Unfortunately, the career gap between men and women in the STEM field is quite large. Only 13 percent of the women surveyed have jobs in which they hold a position of leadership, but 44 percent said that they aspire for one. Sixty-two percent of those women said that it is a lack of opportunity for promotion that has been most harmful to their career.
"The majority of women with careers in the field are highly satisfied and engaged with their jobs."
Even though women in STEM face a great divide from their male colleagues, most of them still find their career choice to be completely worth it. Eighty percent of the women surveyed agreed that they would strongly recommend a STEM career to friends or colleagues. The majority of women with careers in the field are highly satisfied and engaged with their jobs.
Gender bias against women is still prevalent in the STEM field; forty-four percent of these women reported having faced some type of gender discrimination in the workplace. Fifty percent also said they do not have the salary negotiation skills needed to bring advancements to their careers.
Although these issues may be discouraging, women should not feel obligated to accept the circumstances as they are. Young girls need to be exposed to STEM and encouraged to pursue it so that future generations will face less of the issues that women in STEM are facing today. By building supportive, career-based relationships with one another, women currently working in STEM will create strong bonds. The support and encouragement will inspire them to be courageous and proactive when seeking maximum career satisfaction.