Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in STM

Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in STM

Last week we celebrated the International Day of Women and Girls in STM! At Inspired, we like to commemorate special days such as this and, being connected to such a diverse and vibrant pool of STM candidates, we decided to reach out to learn more about their experiences.

We approached a wide, diverse range of women in STM publishing: some who are just at the beginning of their career and others with decades of experience under their belts. We also made sure to contact women from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds so that we could get an extensive grasp of the STM landscape and put together an inclusive overview. Here is what they shared with us:

What first drew you into STM?

A lot of our candidates acknowledged that they initially were not drawn to STM nor did they know it existed as a career option! One candidate shared that she was a Literature graduate who never really thought she would leave the humanities, only to find a new love in science. Other candidates told us that, even though their interest for science started in school, they were not aware of all the amazing career options STM can offer!

There can be a really ‘us and them’ attitude when comparing Humanities with STM, however it is so important to bear in mind that the two can really complement each other to bring out the best quality in the content.

woman in science

Was STM something you were encouraged to go into?

From the pool of STM professionals we spoke to, we did find that this question provided an interesting perspective on how women can be immediately placed into roles that might not align with their true passions. Many found that they were encouraged to pursue English and Humanities over the sciences and technologies. Lots of our candidates told us that school played a massive part in exposing them to different subjects, but there were few people in their lives that actively encouraged them to explore certain subjects to a career level.

On a more positive note, while there may not be lots of people encouraging our female candidates to pursue a career in the sciences, all it really takes is just one person - be it a teacher or family member – for them to discover incredible professional opportunities that match up with their interests.

What do you find exciting about working in STM?

There was so much positivity in response to this question! Our candidates love that the STM industry is constantly moving and striving to provide the latest and greatest in scientific development. It is a busy industry, but the general consensus is that to be on the front line of knowledge is a real motivator.

There was no doubt that publishing STM content has a direct positive impact on the world, whether you are helping to publish life changing research on climate change or cancer treatment. As the next generation looks for roles where they can have a positive impact, this is definitely an area which is highly attractive.

One of our candidates also loves how the work that she does can inspire the younger generation. Currently working as a teacher, she explained how rewarding it is to see her students getting excited after a successful experiment. Nothing more inspiring than passing on our passions!

women in science

What are some of the challenges? 

This question offered some fascinating insight into how many women in STM experience different challenges. One of our candidates who has been in the industry for over a decade noted how the landscape has changed over the years: when she started it was not unusual for women to struggle being taken seriously and it could feel a bit “like an old boy’s club.” There used to be many women working in admin roles, but almost none progressing into senior positions. Another major problem was the lack of diversity with the majority of the employees being white.

This candidate went on to say that witnessing some of the changes in the industry over the years felt like a breath of fresh air! A lot of work has gone into increasing diversity of the workforce in STM publishing, and although there is still a long way to go (given the continued gender disparity in senior leadership roles), the changes have been very positive and promising.

Do you think there are equal opportunities offered in STM?

Spring-boarding from the previous question, a lot of the candidates informed us that, while things have definitely improved over the years, we are still far from the finish line. As a woman of colour, one candidate pointed out that she has had to go the extra mile and seek out opportunities for progression as some were not openly advertised. Another mentioned that she has often been interviewed by an all-male panel.

In speaking to these women, the benefits of diversity were truly highlighted. A diverse team will lead to a variety of views and opinions that in turn will lead to the research being thoroughly debated and validated – thus strengthening the development of knowledge. 

Is there any advice you want to give to young girls looking to get into STM?

A common answer we got from this question is ‘Just go for it’! It can be intimidating to get into a specialised field but you’ll never know if you don’t try. Our candidates also really wanted to emphasise that you are not married to one career in your lifetime and you can change your mind and try new things at any point. It is also good to bear in mind the huge variety of roles within STM including sales, editorial, marketing and more - you don’t always need to be a neuroscientist to make it!

In talking to our wonderful candidates, it became clear that STM is an industry that can offer so much in terms of fulfilment and development. It is always in need of fresh ideas and innovative minds. Our wonderful candidates were eager to promote STM as an inspiring and fulfilling career path, and they also wanted to emphasise that the door to STM is always open to new hopefuls.

We would like to thank all of the candidates who took the time to chat to us and share their experience. All of your excitement and passion was so tangible, and it makes us all the more excited about working on STM publishing roles.  

If you are looking to kickstart or further your career in Academic or STM Publishing or would like further advice or insight into the Academic/STM sector then do be sure to get in touch with our specialist Academic team!

Image of Academic Team Alice and Rhianna

We always want to make sure we are producing and sharing the best content for our candidates and clients, so if there is a topic you would like us to share our expertise on within our library, please get in touch with us by emailing info@inspiredselection.com 




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