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Many women in STEM leadership found their path through other industries.

Women in technology have long faced challenges in the workplace. Despite making up a significant portion of the workforce, they continue to be underrepresented in many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. However, recent studies have shown that exposure to the field while working in another industry can be a significant factor in motivating women to pursue a career in STEM.

According to the Pew Research Center, most adults who work in STEM say that their decision to pursue a career in these fields was based on exposure to the industry while working in another field. 57% of adults in STEM careers said that their experience in a different field influenced their decision to pursue a STEM career. This is particularly significant for women, who are likelier to have worked in a non-STEM field before entering the tech industry.

One reason is that women are less likely to have been exposed to STEM fields earlier in life. Studies have shown that girls lose interest in STEM subjects in middle and high school due to cultural and social factors. Many girls are discouraged from pursuing STEM subjects either by their peers, their families, or even their teachers. As a result, women are less likely to pursue STEM degrees in college and are less likely to enter STEM careers.

However, exposure to STEM fields while working in another industry can help to counteract these cultural and social barriers. Women exposed to STEM fields in a professional setting are more likely to see that these fields offer rewarding and fulfilling careers. They may also see opportunities for advancement and growth in these fields, which can be particularly appealing to women who may have felt stagnant or limited in their previous careers.

Furthermore, exposure to STEM fields while working in another industry can help to demystify the tech industry. Many women may be intimidated by the idea of working in technology, particularly if they don’t have a computer science or engineering background. However, exposure to the industry can help to show that there are many different roles within tech companies and that there are opportunities for people with a wide range of skills and backgrounds. Women who work in other industries may be surprised that their skills are in demand in the tech industry, even if they don’t have a technical background.

Of course, exposure to the tech industry is not the only factor influencing women’s decisions to pursue STEM careers. Other factors, such as access to education, mentorship, and networking, are also important. However, exposure to the field while working in another industry can be crucial in motivating women to pursue a career in tech.

To encourage more women to enter STEM fields, it is important to provide opportunities for exposure and education. This can include internships, job shadowing, and other programs that allow women to get a taste of what it’s like to work in tech. It is also important to provide mentorship and networking opportunities, particularly for women who may not have a robust support system in their personal or professional lives.

In addition, companies in the tech industry can take steps to create more inclusive and welcoming workplaces. This includes offering flexible schedules, providing opportunities for professional development, and creating a culture that values diversity and inclusion. By taking these steps, companies can attract and retain more women in STEM fields.

Exposure to the tech industry while working in another industry can significantly motivate women to pursue STEM careers. By providing more opportunities for exposure, education, and mentorship, we can encourage more women to enter these fields and help to close the gender gap in tech. Companies in the tech industry can also take steps to create more inclusive and welcoming workplaces, which will benefit not only women but the industry as a whole.

Know More. Here are the references for this article:

Here are the references for the article:

  1. Anderson, M., & Perrin, A. (2018). Nearly three-quarters of Americans are concerned about the moral values of people in positions of power. Pew Research Center.
  2. Chang, M. J., Sharkness, J., Hurtado, S., & Newman, C. B. (2014). What matters in college for retaining aspiring scientists and engineers from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51(5), 555-580.
  3. Lipka, S. (2018). Women and men in STEM often at odds over workplace equity. Pew Research Center.
  4. National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. (2019). Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering: 2019. Special Report NSF 19-304.
  5. Pew Research Center. (2018). The state of American jobs.
  6. Wai, J., Lubinski, D., & Benbow, C. P. (2009). Spatial ability for STEM domains: Aligning over 50 years of cumulative psychological knowledge solidifies its importance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(4), 817-835.
  7. Williams, J. C., & Berdahl, J. L. (2019). Social inequalities at work. Annual Review of Sociology, 45, 25-46.