Women in STEM: Promote yourself and find mentors for success in your field

2 weeks ago 13

Having a squad of radical connected your broadside volition assistance you flooded obstacles and enactment successful your chosen field.

TechRepublic's Karen Roby spoke with Jenn Donahue, president and proprietor of JL Donahue Engineering and an engineer. Donahue is besides a mentor and talker encouraging and helping women to beryllium palmy successful STEM positions. They talked astir the challenges women look successful STEM careers. The pursuing is an edited transcript of their conversation.

SEE: Juggling distant enactment with kids' acquisition is simply a mammoth task. Here's however employers tin help (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Karen Roby: Jenn, wherefore bash you deliberation it is specified a situation to get women into these roles?

Jenn Donahue: I deliberation it starts astatine a precise aboriginal age. A batch of the radical that I know, they loved mathematics and science, particularly science, whenever they were kids. But it seems similar arsenic we commencement to get a small spot older, possibly successful mediate schoolhouse and precocious school, there's a batch of societal unit wherever possibly mathematics and subject is lone for the boys and a batch of women and a batch of young girls, they go, "Well, possibly that's truly not for me." And they spell and they prosecute different endeavors. But they inactive person that emotion of subject and they inactive person a emotion of math.

Some of the older women that I've talked to were like, "I truly privation I would've conscionable stuck with the mathematics and subject backmost whenever I was a kid." I deliberation we're starting to spot a small spot of a alteration successful that present wherever determination are a batch of young girls who are being helped and mentored successful mathematics and subject successful bid to stay there. But I deliberation it has to spell adjacent further for women that present person their careers to marque definite that they besides enactment wrong the STEM fields.

Karen Roby: Jenn, we're seeing that women that bash get successful often whitethorn person a fewer years of acquisition nether their loop and past they conscionable driblet out. Why is that?

Jenn Donahue: I recovered 2 existent main reasons for this. One of them is simply a batch of women person decided that they privation to fundamentally driblet retired and person kids. I deliberation that's perfectly a large happening to do. Several of the women that I cognize that's what they decided to do. They decided they wanted to person a family. They got retired of the STEM fields and they've not travel backmost whenever their children person grown. A batch of them consciousness similar they're truthful acold down present that they can't drawback up. They've gone connected to antithetic things.

SEE: New concern tin assistance much women participate tech careers, helping capable in-demand jobs (TechRepublic)

Another crushed that I recovered is they conscionable benignant of got disillusioned by the information that they were truly astir a boys nine each the time. A batch of them conscionable felt like, "You cognize what? This conscionable truly isn't for me," and decided to spell disconnected and instrumentality connected different adventures.

Karen Roby: We surely perceive that a lot. Jenn, with much distant opportunities, we've had much present than we ever did earlier due to the fact that of the pandemic. Do you deliberation that volition beryllium a assistance for women, particularly those that are juggling kids astatine home?

Jenn Donahue: I deliberation it is. One of the lone problems that I recovered is that successful 2020, determination was a study that came retired that said astir 80% of the workforce that near were women. Now this isn't needfully women successful STEM, but a batch of women near the workforce successful 2020 due to the fact that they were superior caregivers for their children due to the fact that their children were having to beryllium homeschooled and things similar that. I'm hoping that that inclination is going to beryllium reversed present successful 2021, wherever they bash travel backmost to the field.

I deliberation it's truly important that we effort to ore connected bringing those women backmost successful and get them re-assimilated and we tin determination guardant from that. But I deliberation it's 1 of those truly important items that we person to look astatine retaining women successful the workforce. Especially if they're moving from home, this is simply a cleanable accidental for them to stay.

Karen Roby: Jenn, erstwhile it comes to tips to walk connected to women, things that they request to beryllium cognizant of and conscionable immoderate mundane things they tin support successful caput erstwhile it comes to being palmy successful STEM related positions, what benignant of tips would you walk on?

SEE: Women successful tech: Funding for women's startups inactive lags (TechRepublic)

Jenn Donahue: I deliberation the archetypal 1 is that you request to find a mentor. If you don't person a mentor, spell find one, and it doesn't needfully person to beryllium a pistillate mentor. You tin person a antheral mentor. Actually immoderate of my champion mentors person been men. Have much than one. Think astir having a committee of directors. For instance, you mightiness person a pistillate mentor. She's been done everything that you astir apt are. She tin assistance you spell astir immoderate of those pitfalls that she did.

But besides having a antheral mentor is besides truly important arsenic well. A batch of times these are men that are successful immoderate benignant of presumption of enactment oregon presumption of powerfulness and they tin assistance bring you up with them. That's truly important, to effort to person a mates of antithetic mentors. I would besides accidental that, arsenic women, a batch of times we're not arsenic assertive. I would accidental that arsenic women successful STEM, we request to find that courageousness and that thrust and that occurrence and retrieve wherefore we emotion what we do. We request to basal up and say, "You cognize what? This is what I'm going to do." That's a small spot hard for radical due to the fact that that mightiness not beryllium successful their mean wheelhouse. But basal tall, beryllium brave and conscionable retrieve and clasp onto wherefore you emotion what you do.

Karen Roby: Jenn, we cognize what erstwhile it comes to the magnitude of tech jobs that are unfastened and retired there, there's much jobs than we person professionals to capable those positions. When it comes to companies attracting and retaining that talent, however bash they clasp connected to these talented females that they person successful these roles?

SEE: Less than 5% of tech jobs successful the US are occupied by women of color (TechRepublic)

Jenn Donahue: I deliberation it each comes down to listening. I deliberation arsenic a leader, you request to marque definite that if you person pistillate endowment already wrong your corporation, spell and speech to them. Find retired what they request to beryllium the astir successful. That's thing that we truly haven't done precise good successful the past is understand, bash they request much of a flexible schedule? What benignant of resources bash they request successful bid to beryllium wildly palmy successful immoderate they're doing? I deliberation it's each astir going out, asking questions, being susceptible and saying, "Hey, what bash you need?" I deliberation that's a large mode to gain spot and loyalty successful those females that are wrong your corporation.

Karen Roby: If you had accidental 30 seconds to speech to 100 women who are successful STEM positions successful antithetic areas and antithetic places wrong their career, what is the astir important benignant of proposal that you could walk connected to them?

Jenn Donahue: I would accidental fig one, you request to beforehand yourself. If you don't beforehand yourself, astir apt nary 1 other will. There's a batch that goes into that. I deliberation it's perfectly true. You person to beryllium your ain cheerleader from clip to time. That takes courage. That takes vulnerability. That takes know-how successful bid to get wherever you request to be. Promote yourself due to the fact that astir apt nary 1 other will.

Karen Roby: So overmuch important worldly to remember, Jenn. I admit you being present with maine and talking to maine astir this. I emotion this topic, obviously. I deliberation it's conscionable truthful important that we support talking astir it.

Jenn Donahue: Absolutely. We person to each enactment unneurotic to effort to support our network. Anything that I tin bash to assistance anybody, I'm definite that if they're connected the podcast, delight support listening to the podcast, make your networks and let's each enactment successful this together.

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TechRepublic's Karen Roby spoke with Jenn Donahue, president and proprietor of JL Donahue Engineering and an engineer. Donahue is besides a mentor and talker encouraging and helping women to beryllium palmy successful STEM positions. They talked astir the challenges women look successful STEM careers.

Image: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

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