Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Find Out How to Recruit and Retain Talent in the New Generation of STEM Graduates This Fall in Boston

That is the sad ratio describing gender diversity in STEM-intensive industries.

Apple's workforce: 70% male, 30% female.
Googles? That's right, 70% male, 30% female.
Yahoo? You guessed it, 70/30.

The question confronting CEOs of many of the leading companies in the world is "how do we achieve balance by recruiting and retaining qualified women" into the workforce? 

This question will be tackled head by some of leading talent acquisition professionals in corporate America at the Women in STEM Idea Exchange Summit, taking place October 21, 2014 at the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University in Massachusetts.

This is your opportunity to learn from and interact with Amy Van Kirk, Parexel; Sachin Sahney, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; and Emily Cournoyer, Covidien as they discuss:

Future of the American Workforce: How to Recruit and Retain Talent in the New Generation of STEM Graduates.

A balanced STEM workforce is crucial to America's innovative capacity and overall global competitiveness. According to the US Department of Commerce, "women are vastly underrepresented in STEM jobs and among STEM degree holders despite making up nearly half of the US workforce and half of the college-educated workforce." Companies are heavily investing in recruitment initiatives across the nation to create a pipeline of women graduating and going into STEM fields. However, despite the current efforts there is a clear gender bias when looking at the amount of women in STEM careers. What should companies do to change the environment and corporate culture that is lagging behind the retention rates of non-STEM industries? How can companies appeal more to the female workforce and create career longevity for these talented women? This session, featuring key industry leaders in STEM talent retention, will address the pivotal points and strategy in recruiting and retaining women in the STEM workforce.

To see all the sessions designed to help you change the future of the workforce in your organization, download the brochure: http://bit.ly/1mIlScp

Don't miss this unique opportunity to listen, learn, discuss and be inspired by professionals developing the STEM workforce of tomorrow. Register today: http://bit.ly/1zsBdUe

Looking forward to seeing you at the Summit!


The Women in STEM Exchange Summits Team

Friday, August 22, 2014

First Woman to Win Fields Medal

The world of STEM recently welcomed its first ever women recipient of the prestigious Fields Medal.  Sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Mathematics,” the Fields Medal is the highest international prize in mathematics.

Fields Medal recipients are recognized as the top mathematic scholars from around the world.  Given by the International Mathematical Union (IMU), the most recent winner is Stanford professor, Dr. Maryam Mirzakhani. 

Dr. Mirzakhani made history by being the first woman to win the ‘Nobel Prize’ of mathematics.  The previous 52 winners have all been men. 

This event is not only significant for Dr. Mirzakhani, but for the STEM world as well.

IMU president Ingrid Daubechies stated that Mirzakhani’s accomplishment is “hugely symbolic,” and “hopes it will encourage more women to get into mathematics because we need more women.”

Even though Mirzakhani’s success is a breakthrough for women in STEM, her achievement is all too rare in these male-dominated fields.  A recent study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee found that nearly 40% of female engineers with degrees leave their jobs prematurely or never apply at all.

This occurrence can be contributed to a lack of appropriate mentoring for young women as well as social bias towards male mathematicians and scientists.

Hopefully Mirzakhani’s victory will be one, not only for herself, but also for all women throughout the STEM world.

For more information on the Fields Medal, visit: http://bit.ly/VhZqiH

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Women Find STEM Success in Developing Countries

These days, more and more women are proving that they can succeed in fields that were once unavailable to them.  However, the female participation rate for STEM industries is 30 percent or less in some of the world's largest economies.

One women, Simone Badal McCreath, told U.S. News that she dreamed of being a doctor. Her mother had left the family when she was young and she grew up in a poor community and no one in her family had ever gone to college. Bu, her father who was an uneducated, yet brilliant shopkeeper wanted his children to get an education. One of McCreath’s challenges in high school was a lack of science teachers, so it wasn’t until she arrived at the University of the West Indies and she knew she wouldn’t be practicing medicine.

“There was this one professor who taught biochemistry,” she told U.S. News. “I remember falling in love with biochemistry right then and there. It wasn’t abstract. One chemical process has to happen before another one can happen. For example, first insulin releases; it travels to cells; blood sugar is affected. It made sense, and I fell in love with it.”

McCreath and four other women faced and met their own challenges to go on to win the 2014 Elsevier Foundation Award for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World. The award is intended to give women in poor nations the international recognition that often leads to financial and peer support to advance their work. The five women, all chemists, were honored for their work that looks to nature for potential cures and treatments for cancer, malaria and other diseases.

“In sciences, academia and research, there’s value in recognition,” said David Ruth, executive director of the Elsevier Foundation. “Women are an untapped resource in the developing world.”

The global picture is grim for women in STEM fields as the number of women working in those fields is on the decline. One study of some of the world’s largest economies, including the United States, the European Union, South Africa, Korea, Indonesia and India, found that in physics, computer sciences, and engineering the participation rate of women is 30 percent or less. In countries that have made an effort to increase the number of women studying science and technology, those efforts have not translated into more women working in the fields.

Other things, like glass ceilings, lack of child care, and cultural obstacles against women in science, get in the way of career advancement. For instance, in the Arab world, the number of women studying physics is higher than men, but that number drops dramatically at the faculty level in universities. To see the ripple effect of greater numbers of women in specific fields of science, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations looked at women in agricultural science. The FAO estimates that increasing the number of women scientists reaching out to female farmers at the same level that male farmers are being reached by scientists would result in an increase in agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5 percent to 4 percent; it could reduce the number of undernourished people by 12 percent to 17 percent; and reduce the number of undernourished people around the globe by 100 million to 150 million people. In very poor countries, before women can become scientists, engineers, computer experts or mathematicians, they must be able to read and write.

In Yemen, the literacy rate among women is only 46 percent compared to 80 percent among men. In Nigeria, about half of women can read and write, compared to 72 percent of men. Two of the award winners are from those countries - these women have overcome obstacles far beyond basic reading and writing, and they have excelled. In many ways, their lives have been very different.

Despite their differences, there are common threads among the women honored this year and in previous years. Many of them talk about having had a mentor, according to Ruth. But most of all, they uniformly talk about the support they have from others – husbands, children, parents and extended families.

“What’s striking is that you see a lot of women coming to get this award with their families,” Ruth said.  “They have a support network. In parts of the world where gender is more of an issue, it takes more than just one individual to be able to succeed.”

Want more on Women in STEM? We have a one day event all about this topic coming up in October right in Boston! For more information about The Women in STEM Idea Exchange Summits, visit our website here: http://bit.ly/1kUYpJl

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gender Inequality in STEM

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields are notorious for gender inequity.  New research proposes that out of these four career fields, engineering has the highest amount of gender inequality. 

Around 40 percent of the women who receive engineering degrees leave the field early in their career or they choose not to enter the engineering field at all.

Of the women who left their jobs in engineering, most said it was because of their work environments or because of poor treatment by managers and co-workers.  Others chose to stay home with children when they found out their companies wouldn’t support their life outside of work.

It is a major concern when so many capable minds leave their careers early.  In order to see progression in the economy, there needs to be an even mix of male and female mind power.

In order to ensure a future for women in STEM, certain steps need to be taken such as support groups focused on the recruitment of women, like UST Global’s “Step IT Up America.”

A continuous push is absolutely necessary if women are to have a future in STEM.  We, at IIR, hope to be the ones pushing.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

7 Ways to Retain Women in STEM

It is no secret the wondrous world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is lacking a strong female workforce.  With the situation getting progressively worse in recent years, there is a necessity to attract more women to STEM careers.  As it currently stands, around 50 percent of the United States workforce consists of women, while only about 26 percent of women work in STEM fields.  That leaves 74 percent of all STEM jobs to men, which creates a lasting impression in women’s minds that STEM is a “man’s world.”

To battle the existing misconceptions women have about STEM, encouragement and information about potential opportunities and benefits of a career in STEM must be provided for girls early on in their educational careers.  Along with encouragement, young girls should have successful female STEM role models to answer any and all questions they may have.  The key to retaining women in STEM begins with educating them early on about the numerous career opportunities and how to become a part of those fields.

Here are some suggestions on how to encourage young girls to consider a career in STEM:

1. Provide absolute positivity about women in the STEM fields and about the scientific capabilities of women in general.

2. Purchase toys and games for girls that encourage problem solving and innovation.

3. Encourage group activities and competition among girls that are related to the scientific field.

4. Incorporate successful female STEM role models in the lives and education of young women.

5. If you are a woman working in one of the STEM fields, share your story.

6. Advocate for the arts and sciences in the education system.

7. Drive the conversation about girls and women in the STEM fields.

For more information on why these suggestions work, visit: http://huff.to/XenmVJ

AND don’t forget to register for the upcoming Women In STEM Exchange Summit in Boston, coming October 21st, where you will be able to make one-on-one connections with potential employees and increase STEM retention rates among women.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Find Out How to Overcome Obstacles in Both the Professional and Personal Worlds of STEM

“There is usually a solution to a problem or a way to get around a barrier if you can step back and get some perspective on the issues at hand. It also helps to read about the experiences of others who have faced similar challenges, whether in their professional or personal lives.” Tracy Gray, American Institute for Research.

Advice for women on how to be resilient and overcome obstacles in both the professional and personal worlds of STEM are some of the main themes of the Women in STEM- My Story, My Advice initiative, brought to you by the Women in STEM Idea Exchange Summit. Read about Tracy Gray Ph.D., Managing Director at the American Institutes for Research, who got her inspiration from her stepfather Oliver.  He mentored and awoke her curiosity across engineering, technology, science, and physics and shaped the thirst for Tracy’s education and knowledge in STEM fields.

Tracy's Story:

Tracy Gray, Ph.D., Managing Director, American Institutes for Research

Some of my fondest memories of my childhood were sitting at the kitchen table with my stepfather, Oliver who was an inventor and entrepreneur. While he was not professionally trained as an engineer, Oliver had a keen sense of curiosity and intellectual acumen that enabled him to take his vision of a particular product and make it happen. He was inspired to build the first electronic thermometer which took him years to complete during his time off from his day job. Throughout the development process, Oliver would always be responsive to my endless stream of questions. Read the rest of Tracy's story and her advice: http://bit.ly/1s9YGXM
You can share your story and learn from professional women in STEM fields by joining the Women in STEM Idea Exchange Summit on October 21st, 2014 at Bentley University.

Download our full brochure and find out how you can outline the future of America’s STEM workforce and close the gender gap in STEM retention and recruitment: http://bit.ly/XAsH9L

Register today for the Women in STEM Idea Exchange Summit this fall: http://bit.ly/XAsH9L

See you in Boston!

The Women in STEM Exchange Summits Team