Women in STEM: Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, around 27% of STEM workers are women. While this is a 19% increase since 1970, we still have a long way to go for gender disparity. Women continue to face difficulties getting hired, promoted, and receiving equitable salaries. Here, Techoreview shares common challenges women in STEM face and how to overcome them.
Lack of Mentorship
If you’re looking to advance your career or grow in your industry, mentorship is the way to go. It is also beneficial in STEM, as there aren’t too many female role models young women can look up to. Unfortunately, many women in STEM careers feel they don’t have a mentor to guide and support them through their journey. This can be a challenge, as it can make you feel disconnected from what’s happening in the industry. In addition, without a mentor, you don’t have an unbiased but knowledgeable opinion on your career or questions. How can you find a mentor? If you don’t know anyone, don’t wait to be assigned one. Instead, take a proactive approach and reach out to several people on LinkedIn or an industry event. You’ll be surprised at how many people are willing to help out and give their two cents.
No Entrepreneurial Positions
Another issue within the STEM industry is that women aren’t in entrepreneurial positions. Often, this is because women weren’t exposed to the business side of things in the same way as men. However, it can be highly compelling to be your own boss, especially if you’re having difficulty getting hired. If you decide you want to start your own business in your STEM-specialty field, developing an app will be a great call. Outsourcing this task will make it significantly easier. All you need to do is check out an app development company on online job boards to find the right fit for you. Filtering candidates by time, reviews, experience, and more make this more manageable.
No Transparency on Salary
Look, we get it – talking about money is tricky. According to an article by CNBC, 1 in 5 Americans doesn’t like speaking about salary, much less negotiating it. However, as women (particularly women of color) have been paid less than their male counterparts, it is essential to understand your financial compensation’s nitty-gritty. Do your research on industry standards, ask questions, and most importantly – understand your worth. Don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary, and stand up for yourself when the time comes.
Lack of Confidence
Feeling like you don’t belong in your career or field can affect your confidence. Women in STEM have to battle stereotypes daily and work in a male-dominated field. This can lead to confidence issues. Women often get intimidated by their male counterparts and forget to stand up for themselves. How can you overcome this? Take the time to remind yourself of how far you’ve come and acknowledge everything you did right. In addition, try to get to the root of your insecurities and break it down into a list. Everything will seem more manageable when you understand the source of your under confidence.
You may also find that seeking an advanced degree gives you the confidence boost you need to self-advocate or even start your own business. There are many online master’s programs that allow you to advance your knowledge in different areas of STEM, from information systems to data science.
Women in STEM are capable, educated, and performing under high pressure in a competitive field. It is time they are treated equally and on the same plane as their male counterparts. By becoming aware of these issues in the industry, you’ll be able to tackle the challenges that come your way with confidence and pride.
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