Empowering STEM: Celebrating Women and Girls in Science Leadership



Evidence of Dark Matter in the Universe. The elements radium and polonium The double helix structure of DNA What do these findings have in common? They were all discovered by women. Women have made significant contributions to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics throughout history. In several First Nations communities, women were responsible for agriculture and food-collecting, making them among the world’s first farmers. However, being a woman in STEM is challenging, but at the end of the day, the appreciation is worth it.

Women at STEM

Women scientists have made significant contributions over the ages towards the understanding, formation, and growth of scientific thought in society. Throughout the past few decades, we have seen and continue to see monumental breakthroughs in scientific contributions made by women. Women have designed aircraft, developed the algorithm that captured the first ever image of a black hole, and led the charge in developing COVID-19 vaccines. Every year, more women enter STEM jobs. This includes women who are majoring in STEM at universities, as well as women who serve on boards and in c-suite positions in STEM organizations. This is not to say that we should abandon our efforts to encourage more women to pursue STEM careers; rather, it serves as a reminder of how hard women before us worked to get us where we are now. My generation still has a lot of work to do, and I need to think of new methods to expand on those efforts that go beyond the normal after-school or summer programs. It’s actually been shown that simply putting more girls into the pipeline does not solve the problem; they just seem to be leaking out at an even faster rate. For example, having more girls attend such camps is not the greatest and only method to demonstrate the effect of STEM areas; rather, we must target women at all levels, including schools, universities, and workplaces. Now, I’m going to focus on workplaces to remember that women before us had hardships and even lost their lives so that we could pursue careers in STEM, making it an even more essential cause to continue fighting for. What comes next for us? So, there are a few things we can start with.

 Menstruation at the workplace: Large organizations are now transitioning to full-time remote work and embracing the concept of a digital workplace via metaverse. Women, more than ever, should be allowed to work from home a few days every month during menstruation. Menstrual leave may be beneficial to the health of people who have mild, moderate, or severe menstrual discomfort, as well as those who suffer from menstrual cycle-related illnesses such dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, and mood disorders. For some women, menstrual symptoms may interrupt their daily lives, making it more difficult to participate in normal activities. I personally know women who fainted at an on-site field meeting due to the stabbing menstrual pain, so it’s a serious matter that needs to be considered. In fact, there are a few large companies in India, namely Zomato, that offer their employees menstrual leads, and in Australia, the Victoria Women’s Trust offers their staff a menstrual policy that extends to employees in menopause, making it the first of its kind. A cross-sectional study with participants reported that 72 percent of women believed that dysmenorrhea was a normal part of a woman’s life and, on average, reported that their menstrual symptoms moderately affected their daily lives.

 Quiet rooms: You know, with the widespread resignation caused by the pandemic, firms are fighting to attract fresh talent and maintain current ones, so I was recently asked, if i were a  woman and recent engineering graduate, what I look for in a company. Assume for a while, If i am a practicing Muslim woman, one of the most important things I look for in a workplace is a peaceful space to pray. Honestly, everyone can benefit from a quiet place to recharge. I got you, introverts. A silent area is not out of reach, just as hammocks and nap pods are common in huge modern organizations. I mean, if I plan to spend most of my day at the workplace, then I need to be able to pray my daily prayers. After all, we do spend one-third of our lives working. This is critical, especially when it means a great deal to me and my fellow Muslim employees. It really is a difference between a good and a bad day, and according to the Mental Health Foundation in the UK, workplaces with high levels of mental well-being are statistically more productive, so it’s a win-win. Some pictures I got off of LinkedIn where people shared their quiet rooms or multi-faith centers in their workplaces. To the left is the one from Facebook, or now Meta offices in Dublin, and the photo on the right is of a local accounting firm in the UK.

Employers need to provide specialized women’s personal protective equipment: Employers must supply customized women’s personal protection equipment (ppe), which fits in a variety of situations. It has been established that the ppe for women is not specifically created for women, but rather is simply a smaller version of the men’s ppe. Numerous studies have shown that women require different PPs than males due to differences in anatomy. This leads to potential health issues in the future due to poor fitness. There are several cases of this happening for different kinds of ppe as well, so ppe is used in hospitals, construction sites, and so on. It was reported by the Trades Union Congress, or TUCC, that when women found the ppe uncomfortable or coming in the way of doing their job, they were likely to not use the ppe altogether. This puts women at a greater risk of injury and health effects in the long term. These are only a few things we could start advocating for in the workplace. There are, of course, many more things we as a society can do to encourage women to pursue and stay in STEM fields, because I believe that they will be able to solve the world’s most complex problems.


At the end, the most interesting stories are not of those who had it easy; we rise and fall, but what’s important is that we find our inner strength and stand tall. Women know your value. Wear your crown and write your own story. We believe there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.

[1] Fourth Year Law Student, Mahatma Jyoti Rao Phoole University, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur

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