Closing the STEM Gender Gap

December 5, 2016Women working in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields face an uphill battle to succeed in the workplace from day one. Outnumbered by men, the culture in these industries makes women feel like they don’t belong and reinforces talent-management structures that hold women back.

Gender diversity is critical to innovation and maximizing the bottom line, so organizations seeking to be leaders in their field must take action to become an employer of choice for high-potential women. 

Catalyst has created concrete, high-impact strategies for transforming male-dominated cultures to successfully attract, advance, and retain women. Acting on even a few of these strategies from recruitment to promotion can make a significant difference.

Whether you’re just getting started, making progress, or on the leading edge of driving change, these strategies can help your organization get to the next level and truly maximize the talent pool. 

Some of them include:

•    Audit job descriptions for masculine terms and rewrite them to focus only on objective job requirements.
•    Include images of women on your website/recruiting materials to publicly portray your organization as diverse and inclusive.
•    Implement a blind screening process by removing all candidate names and identifiers from resumes.

Development and Advancement:
•    Ensure women are evaluated fairly through transparent, concrete, and objective criteria that clearly spell out expectations.
•    Institute targets and hold senior leaders accountable for increasing the representation of women throughout the pipeline.
•    Conduct annual compensation assessments to ensure a gender pay gap doesn’t emerge as employees advance.

•    Create and visibly promote a zero-tolerance policy for prejudiced comments or behavior.
•    Encourage senior leaders to serve as role models by visibly promoting inclusive team norms.
•    Engage men in diversity and inclusion efforts, creating forums for men to discuss gender at work.

Sign up for our Webinar: Disrupt the STEM Default on December 7. 

Looking for more resources? 
•    Report: High Potentials in Tech-Intensive Industries: The Gender Divide in Business Roles
•    Infographics: The Gender Divide in Tech-Intensive Industries
                Women in Computing
•    Tool: Advancing Women in Tech-Intensive Industries: Transforming Organizational Cultures
•    Quick Takes: Women in High Tech, Globally
                Women in the Sciences
•    Blog: Five Things STEM Companies Can Do To Attract And Retain Women

Does your organization use any of these strategies? Which might you implement? 

The views expressed herein are solely those of the guest blogger and do not necessarily reflect those of Catalyst. Catalyst does not endorse any political candidates. The post and the comments are presented only for the purpose of informing the public.