The steps to success for working women may seem difficult — mostly because some of them are. But if we start to implement them in our daily lives, the better off we’ll all be in the future, according to new research.
The study began when an international group of female scientists decided to examine the barriers to success in their fields to identify possible solutions that would help more women succeed in the years to come. Their September 2018 findings, published in Palgrave Communications, analyzed gender representation in science societies, journals, and conferences all around the world. Researchers also surveyed 314 women about their personal experiences, exploring how they reached the current points in their careers.
As you can probably guess, it wasn’t easy for many of the survey respondents. Some reported the experience of gender stereotyping, while others described a “boys club” mentality at certain workplaces. Others confessed that they were judged for being working moms.
"Reading the survey responses was harder than we had anticipated; I could not read all responses in one go as I was in tears,” said lead author Ana Vila-Concejo, PhD, in a press release.
That said, there is a bright side: Vila-Concejo and her fellow researchers came up with a list of steps to success that can hopefully help women achieve more in whatever industry they choose to enter.
"Our findings are important not only for our field of research but also for other fields in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — and beyond," said Vila-Concejo.
Steps to Success for Working Women
- Advocate for more women in prestige roles.
- Promote high-achieving females.
- Create awareness of gender bias.
- Speak up.
- Get better support for return-to-work (after time away from the job).
- Redefine success.
- Encourage more women to enter the discipline at a young age.
It’s worth noting that some of these tips are easier to follow than others. One researcher, Shari Gallop, PhD, admitted that "the first four steps we recommend can be successfully implemented immediately, while others need institutional engagement and represent major societal overhauls.”
But if we can do a little bit of each of these steps day by day to help make the lives of working women — and their daughters and granddaughters — better, it can possibly make a big difference.