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Effective Communication Attracts More Women to STEM


Effective communication brings more women to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Are you Communicating with FINESSE?
Effective communication brings more women to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

I wish someone had told me this information when I was younger!" is a phrase I have often heard from women in male-populated fields for the past decade. Traditionally, women venturing into male-populated fields were entering uncharted territory. They were breaking the barriers, and, in some cases, they even met with the occasional, "I don't know what to do in this situation; it has never happened before" from management. This simple statement means that there is some level of evolution here! Women are now entering spaces where they were not present before and adding to the diversity of culture and thought which brings about the changes we need to see in the world.


But what has changed so much in the past decade that we now see more women in these male-populated industries? Communication.

 

Access to information

In the past, there was limited information about how women could enter these fields. Many times, they were the ones met with, “No, you cannot do that. It's a man’s job. You will get dirty, or you’re not strong enough.” Typically, women would have gotten this information from relatives, neighbors, or others who were not familiar with the industry or believed that jobs had genders attached to them.

 

Back then, there were limited forms of communication or even access to information. When these women entered male-populated fields, they were considered "non-traditional" and sometimes even non-conforming to society. Women have continued to shatter glass ceilings, making it easier for others to join the workplace by communicating their stories, challenges, and ways in which they overcame them by telling their neighbors, friends, and relatives. As such, these traditional forms of communication helped in breaking some of the misconceptions about women working in these fields.

 

With the advent of various methods of communication, such as V-logs and online articles/interviews, information is now available at the touch of a button. This access to information is one of the strongest foundations as it allows others to learn more about the industry and how they can enter it. We are now able to close some of the gaps that traditionally existed for women entering these industries simply because we communicated about our experiences to others.

 

Let’s find a solution

With the advent of so many forms of communication, there is ready access to more knowledge, and the current generation can quickly "Google" something to find out more about that industry. Then, they can make an informed decision about whether they want to join the industry.

 

For instance, a couple of questions that I often ask are, “Would you have joined this industry if you knew there was such a low representation of women in it? Would you have wanted to enter this industry after hearing about the challenges other women faced on a daily basis?” This is information that we did not have before or ready access to, so they are valid questions.

 

The simple answer for me is, “Yes”. I do not regret entering this industry even though I may be the only female in a room at most times. This is what it’s like when you are paving the way forward for others. Being the “first” means that you’re not the last and you are ensuring that we bring more diversity into the workforce to create solutions we did not have in the past. To move forward means we need to change how we do certain things and it starts with communication.

 

When women share their stories, they allow the younger generations access to information they did not have when they entered the industry.

 

This is one of the goals of the “Empowering Women in STEM" series published by CRC Press, Tayor & Francis, edited by Sanya Mathura. With two books already published in the series; men, women, students, people within the industry, or those thinking of leaving it can find out about coping mechanisms or ways to address certain situations, things to avoid, and strategies to help them move forward.

 

Communication is a tool that helps to bring a society together. By sharing their stories, women not only empower other women to join and stay in the field but also inspire men to join forces to help make a difference. This allyship is pivotal for moving the needle forward and creating a more diverse workforce.

 

Effective communication can solve many challenges. By being the first to be placed in a situation (as talked about at the beginning of the article), we learn about the ways that it can and cannot work. We can put things in place for a second incident and understand how to treat it more effectively. Let communication be the tool used to empower more people into STEM.  

 


 

 

Sanya Mathura is the Founder of Strategic Reliability Solutions Ltd based in Trinidad & Tobago and operates in the capacity of Managing Director and Senior Consultant. She works with global affiliates in the areas of Reliability and Asset Management to bring these specialty niches to her clients. She holds her BSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering, MSc in Engineering Asset Management and is an ICML certified MLE (Machinery Lubrication Engineer) – the first person in the Caribbean. Sanya was also the first female in the world to achieve the ICML Varnish badges (VIM & VPR) and again the first female globally to attain the Mobius FL CAT I certification.

 

She sits on the Editorial Board for Precision Lubrication Magazine and is a digital editor for STLE’s TLT Magazine for 2024 and columnist for Equipment Today Magazine. She also sits on the board for the Lubricant Expo North America.


She is the author and co-author of six books; Lubrication Degradation Mechanisms, A Complete Guide, Lubrication Degradation – Getting into the Root Causes, Machinery Lubrication Technician (MLT) I & II Certification Exam Guide and “Preventing Turbomachinery ‘Cholesterol’ – The Story of Varnish.” She has also been assigned the Series Editor of the book series, “Empowering Women in STEM” with the first book being launched in Dec 2022, Empowering Women in STEM – Personal Stories and Career Journeys from Around the World, and the second in March 2024 called, Empowering Women in STEM – Working Together to Inspire the Future. When not writing or managing the business, you can find her supporting projects to advocate for women in STEM.


 

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