No matter how high up you are in your career, it is never too late to learn something new. There one particular industry which is not only crying out for women to take an interest, but it is in desperate need for experienced and skilled women to get involved and that is the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) industry.
A study by Microsoft about STEM education found that despite the high priority that is placed on STEM in schools, efforts to expand female interest and employment in STEM and computer science are not working as well as intended. This is especially true in technology and engineering.
The reasons for this range from peer pressure, to a lack of role models and support from parents as well as teachers, to a general misperception of what STEM careers look like in the real world. But the research also points to ways to better support girls and young women in STEM.
It is important for all women, no matter what industry they work in, to care about the lack of women in STEM because it means that we lack the perspectives of half the world’s population and no matter how hard we try to equalize things, men and women are different in fundamental ways. Therefore we need women in this industry so that the industry can work for women.
If you are successful in your career, then there are many ways in which your skills could be transferred, and you could help in the STEM industry. You don’t necessarily need to know what low inertia high torque clutches are, but leadership skills, passion and understanding will go a long way. Because it has been male-dominated for so many years, the culture is based around men, and it can be intimidating and challenging for women, so it is reassuring for someone entering a career in STEM to be able to chat to someone who might have similar experiences.
Even if you have no experience in STEM at all, as a woman who has succeeded in industry, in running her own business or getting to a C-Level position then there are many skills you would be able to help younger women in the STEM industry with:
If you have experience gathering and understanding information, as well as translating information into actionable intelligence, then this is something that is increasingly needed in STEM. There is so much information available today that it needs to be managed properly and then used to create better strategies for maintaining their competitive advantage, whether by developing new products, services, or internal workflows.
Time Management and Organization
In all industries, people need to be organized and be able to manage their individual responsibilities, this is a transferrable skill, and if you have it, then it’s one that you can teach others. Although these skills are needed in every industry, time management and organizational skills are generic skills that everyone has, but it can be taught and is important.
Customer Service Skills
The success of a company relies on keeping its clients happy. This may not be something that a recent graduate has any experience in, but is something that you could perhaps teach and help women starting their STEM careers excel in. No matter which industry or position you are working in, there will come a time when you have to talk to a customer.