STEM education or educated companies? We need both.
By: Jennifer Pittman | Senior Manager, ABB U.S. Community Relations
When it comes to careers in STEM, we need more women involved. According to the World Economic Forum, in science alone, less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women and this under-representation occurs in every region in the world.
How can we attract more women in STEM?
We can make changes that will enable us to attract new talent, but if there’s not enough interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among girls, then we will continue to lack gender diversity. And, if we build a strong talent pipeline of women interested in STEM, but don’t prepare our companies for them, then the talent will go elsewhere.
At ABB, we are working on both. We are creating a more innovative workplace that will be more accommodating and flexible for all kinds of people, while investing in programs to inspire more girls to pursue STEM.
Creating a flexible workplace
Our office culture is changing to attract new talent and improve the current employee experience. We’ve recently adopted new policies, such as permissive time away and flexible work practices, to enable employees to perform their best at work, while being able to meet their personal needs and commitments. We also have a growing network of employees across the U.S. who actively engage in our Encompass Women employee resource group.
Inspiring girls in STEM
ABB is investing in programs to attract more girls in STEM. ABB is piloting a program with the Girl Scout Diamonds Council of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas to spark girls’ interest in STEM. Girl Scouts have one of the largest pipelines of future female leaders – reaching girls in every U.S. residential zip code.
Nationally, Girl Scouts’ commitment to encouraging girls to discover and excel in STEM has yielded real results. Girl Scouts are more likely to participate in STEM activities than non–Girl Scouts—and in the process, they become better problem-solvers and critical thinkers, and more effective leaders. ABB plans to expand to other markets in the future.
Additionally, ABB is expanding its partnership with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) to inspire the next generation of engineers. ABB sponsored SWE’s “Invent It. Build It.” program to spark girls’ interest in engineering and cultivate each girl’s capacity in STEM.
Here locally, ABB has partnered with WakeEd Partnership to link with Reedy Creek Magnet Middle School. ABB employees have volunteered at several events at the school throughout the year, including hosting a coding workshop for their Tech Girls club, mentoring their FIRST team and leading a STEM Day with 80 ABB employees.
ABB engineer Audrey Wang Gosselin, a participant of our LEAD Early Career Rotational Program, is an advocate and mentor for young women in STEM wherever she goes.
“I was first introduced to engineering through an engineering summer camp for teenage girls,” said Gosselin. “I remember how important it was for me to see and meet engineers who were like me, so now, I jump at any opportunity to mentor the next generation because these outreach activities have the potential to be life changing.”