Mary Adams Wants You To “Change the world like a girl.”
Adams, the co-founder and program manager of Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative, is just one woman leading the way in the field of science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM.
Adams, along with other influential women leaders in STEM, spoke at the Bringing More Women into the Fold in STEM session during the U.S. News & World Report STEM Solutions: Workforce of Tomorrow conference in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
“Change the world like a girl,” Adams said. “Go on in. You’re needed.”
The panel discussed ways to get more women involved in STEM fields dominated by men. Karen Ramsey-Idem, the global technical operations excellence and capacity planning leader at Cummins, Inc. said, said one of those ways can simply be working with men to boost participation.
“We can’t do this alone. We have to be partnering with the men in the room,” Ramsey-Idem said. “We have to find the advocates.”
The moderator of the session, Janet Bandows Koster, the executive director and CEO of the Association for Women in Science, agreed that men and women need to work together. She also noted there were more men in the room than she’s ever seen at an event like this.
Although there has been better cooperation between the sexes and more advocacy for women in STEM, Jean King said more needs to be done. King, a neuroscientist and the Peterson Family Dean of Arts & Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, was the first female African-American tenured professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
King says gains for women in the field have been “modest” in the last 10 to 15 years. There has been an increase in awareness, but that doesn’t mean enough is being done.
“There is a difference between awareness and action,” King said. “It has to take real effort” to bring women into the STEM field.
Not only does it take effort, it takes the right training, with the right people, at the right companies. Companies need to be accountable from the top-down, setting an example and having that example be visible, said Meredith Stevens, the vice president of strategy and deployment of supply chain at Johnson & Johnson.
Read More: U.S News