by Harman Dhillon
Kamala Harris is Vice President, Whitney Wolfe is the youngest female self-made billionaire, and Swati Mohan served as the Guidance and Controls Operations Lead on the NASA Mars 2020 mission. Yet, women continue to face biases in the workplace whether they work in politics, business, or STEM. According to a 2017 poll by the Pew Research Center, “Half (50%) of women in STEM jobs say they have experienced any of eight forms of discrimination in the workplace because of their gender.” This doesn’t just occur in STEM, 41% of women in non-stem jobs experienced gender discrimination. While this may not seem significant, compared to the 19% of surveyed men in STEM who experienced gender discrimination the problem becomes evident (Pew Research Center, 2017). Amy Bix, author and professor at Iowa State University states, “It’s present in Hollywood, in silicon valley, in engineering, in politics, and it can be hard to have your voice heard.”
One way to begin solving the problem of gender discrimination in the workplace is by promoting diversity and inclusion. Taurika Chauhan, a woman in the technology industry, puts it simply, “Decision-makers, both male and female, must increase awareness of their own biases and try to recognize when these views are affecting their hiring and promotion process.” Improvement is occurring slowly-- in the United States, as of 2018, “26% of professional computing occupations were held by women” (NCWIT, 2019). Though this is a steady statistic, the number of men in certain occupations still greatly exceeds the number of women. Bix states that to solve this problem it's important for the young generation to be able to “see it to be it.” She explained that most times, young students need to see representation to want to be involved in a certain profession. Oftentimes, this can be done through the use of hashtags, like #WomenInSTEM, or terms, such as She-EO, to help encourage the female minority to pursue male-dominated careers.
When women come together and receive support from their male coworkers, diversity and inclusion are guaranteed. Equal treatment and representation not only make a workplace more comfortable but ensure that all the work done is done productively.