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19 women share how they’re supported to stay in STEMM

September 28, 2021

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Gender equity and equality in STEMM is not a “women’s issue” – it affects all of us! The future being created by those in STEMM will include everybody, so everybody should be included in its development. There are many hurdles to retaining women in STEMM roles, not the least of which is that the proportion of women in STEMM drops the higher they go in seniority. 

But despite the odds, there are still certain companies that have managed to rise above these challenges.

The 19 women below have shared their stories about how our Endorsed Employers are supporting them to thrive in their careers and help shape a better future for the world.   

Contents:  People-centred cultures | Support in times of need | Employee Resource Groups | Flexibility | Career growth | Learning & development | The quicklist

People-centered cultures

“I constantly feel empowered by the strong LV=GI leadership team and one of our core values ‘Everyone Counts’.”


I completed two years with LV=GI family last month but it feels like forever considering how I have been embraced, supported and provided with great opportunities to learn, grow and develop myself. I wear a smile every single morning while I login because I know I am soon going to talk to people in a super friendly work environment where everyone counts, everyone is brave, and everyone has a heart to care enough for each other.”

Bobby Sinha | Application Owner at LV=GI

I feel most supported as a woman at PA by the genuine enthusiasm and commitment shown during conversations about how we want to improve.


“The industry gender ratio in our field is particularly low, however, I regularly have discussions with my team both in groups and 1-1 on how we can continue to support women in our team and improve the gender ratio of applications. When we do have group conversations these are led by our Head of Capability, which adds commitment to the conversation and ensures that actions will be seen through. Additionally, I’ve had several teams enthusiastically join our technical outreach teaching sessions aimed at women.

Janki Shah | Consultant Analyst at PA Consulting

Our workplace boosts creativity and performance when people work together, communicate regularly, are proactive and inclusive. My workplace energizes and encourages people, fosters connected relationships and great teamwork, empowers and enables people to learn, grow and do their best work.

Anita Mondal | Contracts Engineer at Schneider Electric UK

I’ve always loved problem solving and in my role I do it on a daily basis. I find it fascinating that the code I write becomes products that help our customers. There are also lots of opportunities to learn. I’m also a huge supporter of women in tech, so it’s great to be able to work with like-minded (and really inspiring!) female colleagues in the Group.”

“I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive team during my journey to become a certified Associate Cloud Engineer.”

Rose Ulldemolins | Software Engineer at Lloyds Banking Group

Support in times of need

“I recently needed to take extended sick leave due to a nasty broken bone. Tons of people reached out after the accident and during my recovery, the whole team even sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers to wish me well. Now that I’ve returned to work everyone has been more than happy to help me get back up to speed and offer any help I need to readjust to work, I’ve really appreciated the support and it’s made the return really enjoyable.”

 

“I was blown away by how much love and support I got from my team at LV=GI.”

“LV has been really supportive with my career aspirations, they’ve challenged me to think about where I want to be later in my career and pushed me to take the steps to make that happen. They have provided everything I’ve needed to work towards my goals, everything from professional certifications to funding me through a part time PhD alongside my job as a Data Engineer.

Chloe Young | Senior Data Engineer at LV= GI

It was nerve wracking for me to let my manager know I was pregnant. He had not long joined the organization, and I had only returned from my first maternity leave three months prior. Compounding my fears, I was hit with a bad case of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) for the first 22 weeks of pregnancy, which left me struggling and exhausted.

 

“But it became a defining proof point for me on how supportive Abcam truly are.”

“My special news was met with genuine excitement and happiness. And when I started to struggle, I was able to flex my day around those moments where I was too sick to work. When I eventually went on maternity leave, I had opportunities to keep in touch with my team and I was so proud to hear that Abcam launched a new parental leave plan, which very generously enhanced paid maternity and paternity leaves globally.

Emily Francis | Director of Digital Transformation Office at Abcam US

There is no easy path or a direct solution to address the issue of imbalance and under representation, but I can say with confidence that we as a team and wider company are trying our best to acknowledge it and to increase diversity.”

 

“It’s not just about having more women, as a team we are ethnically diverse too.”

“I’m Muslim, and whilst I’m not super-religious, I celebrate Eid (the Muslim equivalent of Christmas). We have large family gatherings and eat a lot of home-made food and desserts. It can be lonely when so few people are aware of Eid or celebrate it here. However, as a team and company we celebrate different religious festivals and raise awareness.”

Merve Rafferty Alanyali | Head of Data Science Academic Partnerships and Research at LV=GI

Employee Resource Groups

I am honored to be included as one of the founding chapter leaders of the Global Woman’s Network. From the onset, working with the GWN leadership team has helped me feel a part of a global community of Abcam women.

 

“There’s a central focus on “doing better” for us and all the folks that identify as women going forward.”

“I was also mentored by a senior leadership team member who helped me find my voice. The ability to have 1:1 time with a person who had inspired me from afar has been a highlight of my career.

Teri Girtsman | Senior Scientist at Abcam US

The WATCH program (Women Advancing Their Careers at Hubbell) aims to inspire the women of Hubbell to pursue their personal and professional goals, surpass their own expectations, and support other women within the network.

In 2020 WATCH hosted the first-ever WOW (Week of WATCH), a virtual engagement opportunity for all global women of Hubbell. This event offered events daily for five days – and included company and industry updates, personal and professional development opportunities, a keynote speaker, a food drive, a trivia game and much more.

Edna Smith | Test Technician at Hubbell

At PA Consulting, I’ve always been supported and inspired by our grassroots group ‘Women in Tech’ (WiT). We are a passionate team from across PA who are using our expertise to ensure that the future of technology is more diverse, inclusive, and beneficial to all of us. 

We’ve built a supportive network of over 100 people over the last four years, including industry partners and allies. We provide learning and development opportunities to both employees and non-employees, and over the last 5 months, we have operated our first pilot WiT mentorship initiative for women and non-binary PA personnel to enhance retention and facilitate technical upskilling. 

 

In contrast to most of the programmes geared at women’s professional growth, the initiative is focused on technical skills rather than leadership or other ‘soft’ skills. For me, aside from all the wonderful stuff we do, it’s a terrific group for support and solidarity; coming together with other women in tech for an hour a week is very uplifting and invigorating.”

“It reminds me why I’m enthusiastic about tech.

Lucy Ladyman |  Consultant at PA Consulting

Our internal development and DE&I programs help to keep our offerings relevant to a diverse audience of people working here. Mentoring circles and flexible working arrangements play a large part in their success, as well as sponsorship programs for diverse talent that help women learn from senior role models and create a new network.


From Women in Technology groups to BOLD (Black Organization for Leadership Development), Pride (LGBT+) and many more employee networking groups, there is support for everyone from any background, and clear career guidance and focus on development of individuals, as individuals.

Team Member at J.P. Morgan

“Okta has several employee Resource Groups like [email protected], People of [email protected] that educate, support and drive gender diversity and inclusion. They organize fireside chats and “Ask Me Anything” sessions. [email protected]’s Mentorship program allows us to pay it forward by mentoring fellow women at Okta and receive mentorship from Okta’s leaders. We’re supported with dynamic work and work from home, which is great for work-life balance. Okta’s Learning Portal, Udemy for Business, and Okta’s Certification Program provide learning materials and tutorials. We also have periodic virtual learning events packed with keynotes, tutorials, and workshops. 
I am also part of the “Architect Guild at Okta”. They encourage me to present my ideas, and sometimes even poke holes in them. We debate and discuss how products are made and that pushes me to think and work harder. When differences of opinion arise, the level of trust we have already established makes it easier to work through conflicts.

Moushmi Banerjee | Software Architect at Okta

Flexibility

I am encouraged to expand my knowledge and skills base through bi-annual skills appraisals. I am also encouraged to arrange site visits to introduce myself to those I speak to on a regular basis to put a face to the name. I have a company issued laptop and mobile phone, to give me the flexibility to work from home.”

“From the moment I had my first interview, it confirmed my belief that Freightliner is a forward-thinking company.

Terri-Ann Westerman | Locomotive Fitter at Freightliner

After my maternity leave, I was debating giving up work, but I contacted HR and they suggested I take a ‘lifestyle leave’ sabbatical. The time was used to extend my maternity leave and spend quality time with my young child.

 

“Coming back to work after this leave helped me focus on my career as I wasn’t torn between home and work.”

“We also have an amazing Women in Tech group where we discuss and share knowledge among our female peers.

Suganya Venkatachalam | Software Engineer at Ocado Technology

Career growth

Abcam was a breath of fresh air on my corporate experience and brought me closer to science in more ways than one.”

“I’ve learned from several strong leaders over the years on how to be adaptable, work my strengths and to take bold decisions when required. There are several opportunities for people to move across departments and domains. We have a barista who transitioned to data analysis, scientists who moved to HR, Business Analysis, Sales, etc. The opportunities are endless.

Toosie Radha Navaneeth | Senior Program Manager at Abcam US

Learning & development

 At PA Consulting I am supported with women mentors and leaders, flexible work arrangements, ERGs (Employee Resource Groups), growth chances, training or promotion paths. PA offers a lot of assistance with training and professional advancement, for example you can expense a lot of exam certifications, and individuals love to contribute their experience on training courses or as presentations to the rest of your department. I’ve lost count of the number of individuals here who can provide me with job advice. The culture here is really encouraging.

 

Everyone is passionate about what they do and is always eager to assist you to learn more about it and try new things.

Maggie Hunt | Analyst at PA Consulting

“As someone who conducts a lot of training at Hubbell, I can confidently say that Hubbell wants to see their team members succeed in their role and grow in their career.

“We all have a goal of earning 24 hours of training a year, but that number is more frequently exceeded than met.”

“On top of in person training and outside workshops, we utilize an online training platform to provide required compliance and safety training and offer a variety of other training topics for you to self-assign.”

Lis Seale | Environmental Health & Safety Specialist at Hubbell

I’m lucky because Schneider Electric always supports women for their future. I never faced any discrimination when I was promoted and there are always opportunities for developing.  Our digital training platforms are a great chance to achieve any kind of training easily and I’m supported to improve myself by my managers and our global team all the time.

Nazlı Güleryüz | Industrial Engineer Power Systems Division Energy Management Business at Schneider Electric UK

The quicklist:

We get it, you’re a busy woman and might not have had time to read through all the testimonials above. And to be honest, we had such an amazing response this article could have been three times as long, and still not listed all the great ways our Endorsed Employers are supporting the women they employ.

So here’s the quick-list of employers above:

If you didn’t find your employer on the list, but think they should be, why not try checking out the full list of our Endorsed Employers, or talk to your HR/diversity team at work about getting endorsed by WORK180 

*You may have noticed we use the STEMM acronym throughout the article, rather than the shorter STEM. Check out our Diversity and Inclusion Glossary to understand the differences.

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About the Author
Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job.