Session Time/Number: 11-12
Convener: Sharon F.
Notetaker: Ariana M.
Women are starting STEM careers and leaving! How do we retain them? What, if anything, is driving them out of the industry?
Some reasons we think women may be leaving.
There are few women in leadership roles.
Women may not feel like they have a unique cultural identity within STEM. They may feel excluded from already established groups in the workplace as well. There may be camaraderie and team building that exists outside of work that you are not even aware of.
The definition of a typical leader and typical feminine woman can be difficult to reconcile.
Perception that a career should be your whole life. Can work life balance exist? Can women have it all and balance a successful career with a strong family life?
Is there an aspect of ageism? If a woman takes 5 years off to start a family and then returns to work, is she still perceived as hungry enough to continue to advance and be successful in her career?
Attractive women may experience sexual harassment or their competence may be questioned based on their appearance.
The definition of success that women and men hold may be different.
Promote more women into leadership positions.
Change attitudes about the definition of success.
Improve communication between managers and employees.
Allow flex schedules that are family friendly and allow women to be successful at home and at work.
Address diversity from the top down and work to eliminate unconscious bias in hiring practices and management styles.
Look for opportunities to widen a personal circle of influence and maintain them.
Have people buy-in to training courses; get senior leadership to truly support training courses and really commit to changing the culture in the workplace. Do this by creating actionable items that make the working environment more conductive to retaining women.
Frame the problem as a business solution. If the company employees more people from diverse backgrounds who continue to advocate and be accountable for diversity through their entire careers, a paradigm shift will occur as they are promoted to leadership roles.
Support in the Community
Having a mentor and being a mentee. Be an advocate for someone, and have someone be an advocate for you.
Start or join professional networks in your own workplace to create momentum, and a critical mass with a positive mandate. As a group we need to go with the flow, and work from the inside to achieve change that benefits everyone and the bottom line of the company.