In the historically male-dominated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, the voices and opinions of women can be overlooked. When you ask these women (which we did!) to share their experiences, you get a variety of stories, positive and negative.
We want to focus on those positive experiences; the ones of acceptance, equality, and accomplishment. It’s stories like these that should be shared in order to encourage a younger generation of girls to take an interest in STEM-related areas.
Some of the stories gathered come from the women here at The Security Awareness Company. All of us here are passionate about encouraging women to take an interest in STEM careers and have their voices acknowledged by their colleagues. This is reflected in the ratio of men to women in our own offices – we have employed more women than men since our inception. This is an anomaly in the tech world!
So here are the heartwarming anecdotes we gathered from the women in STEM we surveyed, not only at The Security Awareness Company but at other organizations as well.
Nearly all of the male co-workers and supervisors I’ve had have been great to work with. In particular, one supervisor stands out as a man who encouraged me to pursue my college degree while working and mentored me at work.
-Lisa Vasa, CISO
Men can be crucial supporters of women working in STEM. It’s always uplifting to hear about male supervisors and co-workers emboldening their female colleagues as they should!
I had a male boss who had a Ph.D. from Cornell. We could talk intelligently about data and even ‘argue’ about the approach going forward. That was great because we’re both focused on the best approach to getting stuff done and done correctly.
-Anonymous Respondent, Technical Writer
As long as each debater holds the other in the same esteem, a healthy argument can be enlightening and lead to amazing results. If you disagree with some and have reasonable evidence as to why don’t be afraid to voice your opinion!
My teammates at my current workplace all welcome and respect me, and I’ve received a lot of positive feedback during the past years at this organization. It would be hard to name just one, but for instance, if I ping them to discuss improvements for a PR I’m reviewing, my suggestions are usually very welcome. I’d say the colleagues at my same level tend to listen to me more, while management can be sometimes a little more problematic – but I know other male colleagues struggle with that too, so I don’t think it’s necessarily about sexism in that case. Maybe one really good example would be when at times I’ve given constructive feedback to my career advisor. He always listens carefully, values my opinion, and is open to discuss what he could improve his management methods. I’m pretty sure that’s hard to come by!
-Maria, Software Engineer
Getting perspectives from colleagues helps all of us improve our work! Men and women should be able to criticize respectfully and help pull each other up whenever they can.
Our CRO at one of my past companies was in a class of his own. Not only was he respected, adored, and sought after for advice and guidance, but he maintained the perfect balance of awe and trepidation so that his colleagues wanted his advice but never took his time for granted. He constantly made me feel as if my contribution was not only appreciated but that it made a big impact on him and the sales team.
-Kailani Joy, Marketing & PR Consultant
Company leaders can be a huge source of inspiration. Composed and appreciative are just a few traits men and women can look to emulate.
Experiences from Women at SAC
I don’t have a lot of previous work experience that would contribute to a conversation of sexism or gender dynamics in the workplace. When I worked at Books a Million, my managers were women and most employees were too. When I worked at the UCF TV station, most of the people were male but always treated me and my female co-worker with respect.
I know I’m the minority here, but every job I’ve ever had I’ve had female supervisors. Even on the regional level and even in my jobs during high school. I’ve managed men, but I’ve never really had a male manager. In that sense, I would say it’s comparable.
More and more women in the modern era aren’t experiencing gender inequality or rampant sexism, even though these things still do exist. Sadly, these things do still exist. At places like SAC, we work hard to make sure everyone fits in and feels like their opinions matter, and that they are heard.
There is no comparison. SAC is unique. Gender bias doesn’t rear its ugly head within organizations that value character, skill set, creativity, pride in the product, and a strong work ethic over whether a worker is male, female, trans, alien, older, younger, etc. And SAC doesn’t care about anything except having hard-working, quality players with integrity on the team, who take pride in producing superior products and performing extraordinary customer service.
Work ethic should always overshadow gender. At SAC it’s clear that quality prevails, no matter the source. We believe this is something that will one day be the case in all organizations!
All of the men at SAC are fantastic people. I think that I have only had positive interactions with all of them. Winn is a bit weird but when it comes to products he always defers to the advice of the people that are actually making the products. Bob, the fun uncle, who will literally and enthusiastically provide us with whatever tool or device we need, brings everyone chocolate for Xmas. Jeremy juggles being a very proactive father and making awesome content, always enthusiastic about collaborating. Justin as our writer has been wonderful because the content he creates is quality and consistent, (he mentioned the rabbit hole of women’s history month info and how cool some of the stuff he was finding was). Jorge, always polite and fun. Was careful of my gimpy arm when we were dancing in Vegas. Breck and Josh, I don’t know all that well yet but I am sure they are just as awesome as all the other men at SAC, because the hiring process, as strange as it is, really works when it comes to selecting people that mesh well with the established SAC-fam.
SAC really is a family, there’s no better way to explain it! Everyone has their specialties and knows to seek the advice of someone else on the team when help is needed. Being comfortable with all your co-workers helps facilitate a healthy exchange of ideas!
My CEO has amazing communication strengths and is always concerned about the feelings of his co-workers. He also has encouraged me to exercise my given authority in making decisions and not overly worry about consequences. He has said, “If its a mistake, we’ll fix it, it’s not the end of the world or the company.” This has encouraged me to grow in my position.
Our CEO, Bob Todrank, is one of the most understanding and helpful human beings. The aforementioned ‘fun uncle’ has always had the backs of all the ladies of SAC! No one could ask for a better CEO.
There are a lot of daunting statistics about the gender gap in STEM. There are plenty of articles these days that focus more on these stats, sexual harassment, and other harrowing experiences women have working in male-dominated fields. Our hope is, with more positives stories like the ones we shared, we can encourage more women to take up an interest in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematical fields!