Three Things Women Bring to the STEM Professions

Women in the STEM professions (Science, technology, engineering, and math) are assets to their fields. With ten years of experience as an engineer, I have seen a few characteristics that stand out — attention to detail, emotional intelligence, and determination. Granted, not every woman was like this — like the one that yelled at me for missing an info hand-off. But, on the whole, I noticed women bringing these characteristics into work every day.

1. Women Bring Detail Oriented Mindsets

Maybe it is the way we are wired, or maybe it is because we are more sensitive to criticism so we pick up on everything. Women are detail oriented, and they are able to pull details together, synthesize the information, and produce the desired result or product. Some of the women with PhDs that I worked for are incredibly smart and can categorize their work in their head and talk about it in an orderly — even cyclopedic — fashion. The project managers are very detail oriented. If not for them, all the engineers would struggle with keeping the projects moving in an orderly manner.

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2. Women Bring Emotional Intelligence

Women naturally draw on instincts that involve processing and using emotional data. If someone is upset in a meeting, we are likely to take that into account which creates a thoughtful response to the conversation. Emotional intelligence paired with logic (or thoughtfulness) is a great combination. The female managers I encountered so far in my career were very logical yet were able to work with a wide array of emotions. One of them, when she became manager, proposed modernizing the way we organize the kinds of information being created. She was up against men and women with 30 plus years of experience who could easily object to anything she said, but that did not stop her. While holding to her initiative, she remained empathetic in her presentation towards the change she was requiring from everyone.

3. Women Bring Determination

If a woman sets her mind to something, she will do it. There is a reason the quote “She believed she could and so she did” is so prevalent in society. This attitude is so important in the STEM professions. Engineering and science provide plenty of opportunities for discouragement. Coworkers and bosses alike reject ideas simply because they are jealous or they do not like the idea. Some people are just plain icky. Determination provides the fuel to overcome any roadblocks and see the solution come to fruition.

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These are only three traits. I am sure there are more. This is where you are needed. Do you know a woman who is in a STEM career? What qualities have you seen that she brings to the workplace? Leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you.

I am an engineer who likes to write. After ten years in the field, I want to try something new.