Archive: December 2013
Women in STEM—Be the Girl Who Doesn’t Give a Crap!
I recently came across this NY Times article outlining the still-existing biases that make it harder for women to pursue a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). You can check out the whole article here. It’s quite long and if you are pressed for time, read the conclusion on the last page. After ten pages of background, presentation of fact, and disbelief that this level of bias can still exist today, the final insight is as simple as it is dead on right.
If you are a young woman considering a career in STEM or are in a position to influence someone who is, please share this article and insight with them. Tell them to adopt the attitude of the few women who have ascended to the top of the STEM pyramid in a University environment. When asked why they were the ones who had been successful in Yale University’s male dominated Physics Department, one of them offered this:
“Oh, that’s easy,” one of them said. “We’re the women who don’t give a crap.”
Don’t give a crap about — ?
“What people expect us to do.”
“Or not do.”
Some people, like these women, figure out early that life is a lot more fun, and rewarding, when you realize that taking your own advice frees you up to achieve just about anything—assuming you want it badly enough to do what it takes to make it happen. It’s my Shortcut 6, Earn an “I Can Do Anything Attitude”. In this case it means women developing an attitude that enables them to ignore the naysayers and succeed in an arena dominated by men.
The side benefit of succeeding where others dare not tread is that you become one of the most valuable of commodities—rare and differentiated. As the father of two daughters who have both followed a STEM educational path, I can tell you that it is worth the effort. The oldest has a really cool job in Chicago and the other, a senior in mechanical engineering, is entertaining offers that are exceeding her wildest expectations. Send me an email if you want to know more and/or learn from their experience in STEM. The world is only getting more complex and there is a incredibly rewarding life awaiting those who choose to figure out how to make it simpler for the rest of us.