So you love science. Well, why wouldn’t you?

Science is a deep dive into the complex riddles of the universe. If you love science, chances are you want to solve these puzzles and use your answers to create something exceptional. But if you are a woman who loves science, chances are you are often discouraged and made to feel inadequate. Recognizing and elevating safety science and scientific research for women are at the core of Underwriters Laboratories. This led to the birth of Word to the W.I.S.E. (Women in Science and Engineering), an initiative that aims to question the status quo, highlight stories of successful women in science and technology and change the narrative of women and their careers in STEM through podcasts, discussions and dialogue.

Exploring STEM and its many colors

Our future demands a combination of creativity and intellect to come up with a new and varied approach to science and technology. STEM has been a closed box of conventional careers for far too long, especially for women. What if women can imbue an alternate way of thinking? For example, Mary Flanagan, founder of the game research center Tiltfactor Lab and CEO of the board game company Resonym, develops science-based board games to spread public awareness of cultural stereotypes, epidemics and immunization drives. [1] There are also women who have taken unconventional and innovative scientific approaches to building a safer and more sustainable world. Dr. Judy Jeevarajan, vice president of research for the Underwriters Laboratories Electrochemical Safety Research Institute, is another exemplar of a visionary leader, overseeing the development of safe batteries that can power electric vehicles and energy sources for a risk-free future. [2] Women are undeniably bringing fresh perspectives as they advance green energy, sustainable farming, climate analysis, scientific ethics and other study areas.[3]

So, what’s stopping you?

Fixing the leaky pipeline[4]

There is no doubt that a gender sieve exists in STEM. Reports reveal that around 40% of STEM graduates in India are female, but less than 15% have a career in STEM. [5] Appalling! Isn’t it? Neurobiological studies prove that men and women have similar cognitive capacities. [6] Yet, academic stereotypes such as “women can’t handle technical and mathematical aspects” exist. STEM is a male-dominated field with a traditional setup and a lack of flexibility to accommodate the needs of the future. Many women find it stifling and restrictive. Along with a discouraging ecosystem, it forces women to drop out of their journey in STEM. It is high time that women break these stereotypes and redefine what STEM represents, both traditionally and creatively.

A safe space to grow and thrive

A transformation in STEM, especially in women embracing traditional and creative careers in STEM, is only possible when there’s hope in the form of successful leadership examples and a safe space that allows guidance, opinion and conversation. With the aim of encouraging more women to enter and continue their journey in STEM, Word to the W.I.S.E. puts STEM careers of the present and future in focus and urges women to be part of a community that will support and cheer them at every stage of their career. We’re beginning this quest with our podcast series soon and would love to have you all ears!

For the love of science, let’s change the narrative to make it more inclusive and cooler than ever before!

Join us in our endeavour, and listen to engaging conversations and discussions around women in STEM, upcoming careers and more.

References

  1. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/03/this-is-not-your-fathers-stem-job/359684/
  2. https://www.ul.com/news/nasa-ul-lighting-spark-battery-safety
  3. https://www.idtech.com/blog/futuristic-stem-jobs-and-career-list-for-students
  4. https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/stem-and-the-digital-economy-for-women/
  5. https://www.education.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/statistics-new/ESAG-2018.pdf
  6. https://www.apa.org/action/resources/research-in-action/share