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3 Ways To Be A Woman That Thrives In STEM

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We are told, by strong female role models, that we can be whatever we want to be.
We can look the way we want to. We can love whoever we want to. We can dress as we choose, and we can work in whatever profession we feel is right for us. We can do whatever a man can, in our own, wonderful way.

 

It’s true. Or at least, it should be true. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t always feel as though it is. Even the women that do tackle traditionally male-dominated industries, making their mark and becoming successful, often feel as though they had to work harder for it.

Women in many different industries, all over the world, are still campaigning against gender pay gaps, against sexual mistreatment in the workplace and against that glass ceiling that women are so much more aware of than men. It’s tough. It’s a fight. But it’s necessary.

 

It’s always better to ask, to check your knowledge, than to make what could be a costly mistake.

 

Women have always worked in the sciences. Female trailblazers like Ada Lovelace, Marie Curie, and Dorothy Hodgkin play a huge role in the scientific field and are a source of inspiration to all of those women slogging daily in labs and research facilities, writing papers, analysing research and presenting findings.

But, it can still feel very much like a man’s world. Here are three things you can do in STEM, or any industry, to break those boundaries down.

 

Many women find it hard to ask for help, or to admit that they don’t know something. They worry about looking weak.

 

Know Your Stuff

This point is of course true for men too. To do well in any field, you need to to become an expert; from the latest methods of dna extraction to the newest theories and old benchmarks, continuous learning, enthusiasm and energy is needed.

Many women, however, find it hard to ask for help, or to admit that they don’t know something. They worry about looking weak.

Don’t. It’s always better to ask, to check your knowledge, or to learn something new than to make what could be a costly mistake. To do well in science, in short, you need to be open to continual learning, through asking for guidance, independent reading and research and gaining practical experience in the workplace.

 

Don’t let imposter syndrome hold you back. You’re not an imposter. You are where you belong.

 

Get Over Imposter Syndrome

Up to 70% of high achieving women struggle with imposter syndrome at some point. They feel like they don’t belong. They keep quiet and don’t put themselves forward for opportunities because they are scared of being found out.

It’s not always as simple as reminding yourself that you are well trained, good at your job and knowledgeable. You need to surround yourself with supportive people, push yourself out of your comfort zone, find ways outside of the workplace to boost your confidence and maybe even speak to a therapist or career coach.

Don’t let imposter syndrome hold you back. You’re not an imposter. You are where you belong.

 

Don’t apologise for being a woman or for having a life outside of work.

 

Don’t Apologise

If you are wrong, or you make a mistake, then yes, you should apologise. But don’t apologise for who you are.

Don’t be sorry for your beliefs, your goals or your targets. Don’t apologise for being a woman or for having a life outside of work.

By apologising for being yourself, you are telling yourself, and the rest of the world that you are wrong. Break out of this habit, and you’ll start to thrive.

 

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