Increasing the participation of women in STEMM is not just about equity, it’s about ensuring the best share of bright minds. It’s about the future of our economies and solving the big problems we all face. And it is about equity too.
What’s needed is long-term sustained, comprehensive efforts spread across the entire life span, to attract and retain more women in sciences. Participation is how it works. Participation means role models. It also changes the culture and unspoken biases that either block girls from choosing science, or make them want to leave too early in their STEM careers.
What’s needed is long-term, extensive change we can all be part of. We can all encourage and celebrate women and girls’ aspirations, cleverness and achievement. We all know that achieving excellence in the fields of STEM requires sustained effort of itself: the effort to master and then to advance scientific and technical endeavours requires dedication to develop and then succeed, and it takes decades of persistent effort to become a leading scientist or engineer.
Even our universities need to lift their game in supporting women in developing their academic careers. In my work in academic search, so many talent sources are not paying attention to the talented women. Even hiring managers and selection committee members too often are not doing all they can to promote women to leadership positions.
And it’s up to us women: proudly aim high for ourselves, for our sisters, daughters, nieces and grandchildren. We have so much to offer. And our planet needs it.