Women in STEM: what they do to attain success
Women remain underrepresented in the STEM workforce, although to a lesser degree than in the past. They are still finding it difficult to breakthrough to the top. While there are more women entering the STEM sectors at junior level, its still very difficult to retain them and have them occupy top positions where crucial and important decisions are made. This does not help build an attainable environment for women to become viable players in STEM career paths. So, what contributes to this underrepresentation of women in STEM? What can we learn from the women who managed to climb the ladder? What makes them successful?
They know who they are, what they want and what they want to contribute
First things first, as a woman in STEM, it is important to be real with yourself about what you know, where you are and what you want to accomplish. It is critical to do some self-evaluation so that you can identify your strengths, needs, gaps, be open to feedback from your industry peers and to receiving new and transformative information. A good way to start is by being honest about where you are, who you are, where you want to be and how you want to position yourself in STEM. From there, think about whom you’d like to be associated with and where you’d like to get help to fill your gaps and to grow in the industry.
They create a vision and own it
It is crucial not to leave your career in STEM to chance. As a woman in STEM, you must create a powerful and positive vision of your future. You must commit to it completely and believe it. You have to become the face and the voice of your vision in each one of your daily interactions. You must focus on what you want to accomplish and on your goals whatever the challenges, whatever fears and doubts you have and whatever people might say to distract you.
They take action and have a strategy
Women who succeed in STEM are always action-oriented because they believe there’s always a way to move forward. They approach their career strategically. They create a career plan, put the plan into action and follow through with persistence. They embrace failure when it happens. It doesn’t matter how many times they fail, they always learn from their failures and use the lessons to revise their plan and strategy when appropriate and necessary.
They work harder and go the extra miles
A number of successful women in STEM said that they had to work harder than male co-workers to receive the same level of respect and rewards. They had to work harder and put themselves out there more for people to take them seriously and think they know what they are doing. They had to continually exceed expectation to prove that they are competent, do and give more than they are asked, put their best craft on the table and achieve excellence in everything they do.
They create mastermind alliance
Successful women in STEM had to align themselves with powerful people who could empower them, learn from and motivate them to search for higher ground. They have accountability partners, mentors, coaches and board of directors for their career but above all, they made sure to have a male sponsor who could advocate for them in the industry.
They communicate with excellence and speak up
Successful Women in STEM understand that excellent communication is key. Great communication skills open doors for them, it did give them confidence, strength, and power to create multiple opportunities for senior and executive positions. Speaking up and contributing their thoughts was essential to help solve industry problems and raise their profile.
They embraced their imposter syndrome
The imposter syndrome is quite common among “High Achievers”. What the key factor is how it is handled by each woman. The imposter syndrome is something to grow out as you encounter new challenges when you climb the corporate ladder. The imposter syndrome and a strong work ethic keeps you challenged and pushes you to learn and accomplish more until you realize that you are not an imposter anymore and belong at the table
They understand the difference between personal and professional identity
It is very frequent in STEM fields to see women place more importance on their gender identity and not on their professional identity. This may be because of the masculine context of STEM, women who have a strong self-concept of their gender but not professional may struggle to fit in. It is essential for women in STEM to focus more on their professional identity than on their gender and on the glass ceiling if they want to succeed and excel. They must enter the STEM fields with boldness and total confidence. They don’t have to be small for men to be big or fear their own power. Women should realize that they can actually exhibit all their power whatever intimidation they are creating in their environment. They should never apologize for what they can accomplish and bring to the STEM fields.
Mireille Toulekima is a renowned expert in oil and gas investment across emerging and developing markets, with expertise in developing fit-for-purpose local content policies, strategy and processes, combined with vast technical experience in oil and fas project management and execution.
Mireille Toulekima is a renowned expert in oil and gas investment accross emerging and developing markets, with expertise in developing fit-for- purpose content policies, strategy and processes, combined with vast technical experience in oil and gas project management and execution