Women in STEM have a wealth of experience and advice to offer, and it’s important to learn from their success and challenges. Today we provide you with 7 pieces of advice from successful women in the STEM field, taken from Women in STEM Bradford event as part of International Women’s day 2023.
Make your voice heard.
Jasmin Hibbert from Produmax used to go to an all girls school and from there she transitioned to working in a company with just men, but she thinks this helped to build her up. Getting your voice heard is very important, in this case for Jasmin, when she went to college to do her apprenticeship for the same company she became the apprentice of the year. For Katie Butler, who works at Robertson Construction, she feels women are underrepresented in the Construction industry, and she spoke about the necessity to get more women into construction and about the necessity of women having to take up more space than their male colleagues.
Let your skills be your superpower.
If you don’t know what you want to study is ok, ask yourself what you like to do or what is something that is natural for you. For Reji Garcha from Naylor Wintersgill, she studied accountancy because she knew she liked numbers, not being so sure about it she changed her course to HR management, and from there it took her to work in places like HMRC and to her current job for the last 15 years Naylor Wintersgill, were she was inspired to continue her studies as Taxation Technician and went from a trainee to a tax manager.
“I didn’t know this things existed until I asked the questions and gave them a go and this is all we got to do”
Emily Downs from Yorkshire Water journey has also been different, after doing her A levels, a bit of travelling and work in advertising agencies, she researched about the company she was interested in and thought she would be good at it according to her skills, she only knew that it was maths related and that is how she became a Project manager for Yorkshire Water.
For Alisa Ahmad, when she first joined her job she was a bit worried in terms of being a male dominant environment and not having any construction background, she just knew she enjoyed maths so she decided for engineering. Once she got into it she realised how much she enjoyed it and she didn’t let anyone get in the way of her passion.
“A difference doesn’t have to be something that everybody in the world sees if you make a difference then you make a difference to a small community or even to one or two people then you know you’ve got a legacy, what you have done in your work has helped somebody and as an engineer that’s fundamental so everything that an engineer does, cause engineers are involved in every part of our lives, everything an engineer does makes a difference and it’s important to recognise that”.
Elaine Brown, University of Bradford
Gender in engineering
You find that in different types of engineering there are different balances in terms of gender, the one with the least women is mechanical engineering, and chemical engineering. Biomedical engineering it’s about 50/50 it’s very very balanced. Elaine Brown thinks that is because more women tend to go into healthcare roots in terms of studying at university, a mix of nursing and pharmacy with engineering. So in biomedical engineering what they do is work with surgeons, create tools, create prosthetics.
Women in construction
“The percentage is 12% of women in the construction industry and then the percentage is even smaller for a woman of colour specially wearing a headscarf as well”.
Pursue your passions
Nancy Bradford from Faithful & Gould shared with us that more than extracurricular activities the importance is in showing your passion, as it will show you have that something else.
Elaine Brown thinks it’s really important when you are presenting yourself for something that is actually about you and not just something you think looks good. She recommends doing something because it’s fantastic and it will help you do teamwork, put you out of your comfort zone, and that you can learn from. So that companies and universities or wherever you are will notice you and it is that authenticity that comes true,so it doesn’t really matter what it is.
No one expects you to know
Nancy Bradford mentioned that when there is someone new, being an apprentice or a graduate, no one expects them to be an expert on the field, what matters is for you to be open and willing to learn and have that resilience to be open to the opportunities that the company would provide.