What advice would you give to a young female STEM graduate?
September 20, 2011 7:53 AM Subscribe
What advice would you give to a young female STEM graduate? I have eleven years experience. I graduated from a STEM program in 2000 and recently received my MS degree also in a STEM field. Five years of my experience were in industry, the last six are in a research lab in academia. I am not a student, I am a regular employee of the university. My MS degree came from another university. During these six years I have never seen sexism like I have seen it here. It is anticipated my current place of employment will no longer be because our funding will cease. We are all looking for jobs.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Throughout my career this is how I handled myself professionally:
*I look at my male colleagues for direction - are they dressing up for Halloween? No? Then I do not.
*I have kept my emotions at a minimum. Twice in my career I have cried in front of someone. One time was because I received news my grandmother died.
*I do not belong to women engineering societies because I believed - how can we be viewed as equal when I am separating myself?
*I can carry on conversations regarding football, classic cars, and other fields my fellow male coworkers find of interest.
*On average I wear a skirt to work twice a year. This is mostly because I have an event after work. I never wear an outfit which should I need to fix something I wouldn't mind getting it dirty. My point - I am not "high maintenance" in my choice of clothing.
*I do not carry a purse to work. I use a nice messenger bag.
*I do not make general jokes about men or about women.
*I sometimes run work situations by my husband who will offer me advice from a third party perspective.
*I rarely go out to lunch alone with another male coworker. If this occurs it is because the business environment calls for it. My husband knows about it these rare lunches and the reasons for them.
*I have no problem standing up for myself regarding engineering decisions I made with mounds of documentation behind me to show the decision was the correct one.
I do not believe the sexism directed to me could have been prevented. Given that I am looking for another job it occurred to me perhaps there was some good advice I missed along the way. I want to start the next job off right with this useful advice. Therefore, assume I am a bright eyed, excited, young, female STEM graduate ready to take on the world. What advice would you give her?
Anonymous in case others from work are on MetaFilter.