Although women now comprise about 50 percent of the workforce in the U.S., the number of those employed in the STEM fields continues to lag. There’s also been significant growth in the number of women enrolling for AP computer science exams in recent years, but female students still account for only 27 percent of such enrollees—and this problem continues through to higher education, where 83 percent of university computer science majors are men.
This pattern is evident in the workforce as well, where women hold just 13 percent of engineering and 25 percent of computer and math roles.
“Women in the workplace, particularly those in STEM careers, continue to face a variety of persistent challenges, from cultural issues and a lack of acceptance to a scarcity of women role models and mentors,” says Linda Braun, Senior Vice President of Photonic Solutions at LGS Innovations. “Yet there are unique perspectives and communication skills that women bring to the workplace that facilitate problem solving, promote teamwork, and help a company succeed.
“We want to attract more female applicants to fill LGS openings, and we realize that the first step is to ensure that we have a welcoming culture –so that women know they can thrive here,” Linda adds.
To this end, Linda recently launched a quarterly series of “Women in Florham Park” discussion groups, open to all women in the LGS Florham Park, NJ office. The list of topics is just as open, touching on a variety of challenges facing women in the workplace, including how to attract more female applicants to join the team.
“We’re all very interested in forging recruitment strategies to hire more women at LGS,” Linda says. “We’ve been working with the LGS recruiting team to find ways to boost the internship and co-op opportunities available to women, using social media and other promotional channels. We’re also building relationships with local community programs that offer mentorship and networking opportunities to women.”
Just two meetings along, the discussion group is already realizing benefits. “Just by getting together and networking, we’ve been creating new networking and mentorship relationships among women in Florham Park,” Linda says. “Supporting your female employees with a mentor of their own gender can go a long way in creating a workplace that encourages gender diversity.”
 https://careerwise.minnstate.edu/careers/womenstem.html (retrieved Dec. 11, 2018)