Women and STEM

Both organizations and individuals can adopt strategies to make STEM careers more fulfilling for women.
Women and STEM

The Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), a New York Citybased think tank dedicated to building a more diverse labor force, has released a study to identify strategies that lead to increased retention and career advancement for women. The study, which surveyed 3,212 respondents between the ages of 21 and 65 with STEM credentials, notes that many women in the field feel stuck in their jobs and more than half eventually quit. It also ranks ten company-led initiatives by their effectiveness in retaining and advancing women in STEM roles.

Among these ten strategies are a commitment to pay equity; an opportunity for employees to connect with female and minority consumers; time outside of core job functions for innovative side projects; sponsorship programs; management training on empathy, integrity, or inclusion; mentorship programs; leadership development programs for women or people of color; concierge services or family care; employee resource groups; and anti-bias policies or training.

The rank order of the top ten interventions was derived by calculating the percent increase in the number of women in STEM who advance and intend to stay at a company with a specific intervention, as compared to those who are at companies that do not have that specific intervention. “Companies can now prioritize specific interventions that advance and retain women,” says Pooja Jain-Link, senior vice president and head of research at CTI.

The study also identifies six strategies women can use to be successful in STEM fields, whether or not their employers deploy interventions. The women in STEM who are satisfied with their jobs, respected for their expertise, and in senior-level positions are more likely to be extremely confident in their abilities; confront the situation when their contributions are ignored; invest in peer networks by helping colleagues; sponsor others; be authentic; and build their personal brands with activities such as networking and attending conferences.

In previous research, CTI has identified a number of common challenges that women experience in the STEM industries, which include alienation, extreme hours, bias, and exclusion and isolation. Additionally, many feel that their supervisors do not view them as having leadership potential.

According to Pat Fili-Krushel, CEO at CTI, “The more organizations and individuals turn their attention to strategic solutions, the more progress we can make—both in giving women fair access to opportunities, and in drawing upon the full range of talent, ideas, and innovations they can offer our companies and our world.”

Learn more about “WonderWomen in STEM and the Companiesthat Champion Them."