Notes from Women’s Forum: Empowerment and Equality

Today I attended Part 2 of the Women’s Forum, Empowering Women in STEM. I took some notes, which I will leave here as a resource for the group.


Talk from Sue Miller from AAUW California:

-While the percentage of women in chemical/material sciences and biological sciences have increased dramatically since 1970, engineering has increased only slightly (1%-12%).¬† Women’s representation has had a decline in recent years (since 1990) in computing and mathematical careers.

-While women are typically underrepresented in engineering & computing careers, women of color are extremely underrepresented.

-What can colleges do? They can broaden intro computer science courses to accommodate a wider range of previous computer programming experience. They can create research opportunities for undergraduates in computer science. They can send women to conferences for women in computer science. Harvey Mudd sends their undergraduate women to the Grace Hopper conference for women in computer science, and has seen success with this endeavor.

-What can employers do? They can create a clear evaluation system to eliminate bias.

-What can the state do? Invest in better education. Help enforce Title IX. Fund extracurricular activities to expose girls to computing & engineering at and earlier than high school age.

Talk from Clare Singleton from Top Line Management Consulting:

-In outreach, we should make it clear to women that there are both challenges and opportunities in STEM.

-advice to women at early stages in STEM career: always have a plan, so people know how to help you. It’s okay if you’re not sure and you change your mind. Just have some idea/goal/plan in mind. It’s not a forever commitment. Also look for mentors everywhere.

-advice to women throughout STEM career: take calculated risks. You learn from failure, and being brave will turn you into being fearless later.

-focus on people who appreciate your work. Don’t waste time trying to convert the rest.

That’s all the notes I took. If you have any further questions about the forum, feel free to ask me in a future meeting or contact me (my info is public on UCD Physics site).