Creating equality in career opportunities requires recognizing an individuals value, beyond any limiting contexts of identity.
ADDRESSING THE GAP
On 22 December 2015, the General Assembly decided to establish an annual International Day to recognize the critical role women and girls play in science and technology, through Resolution A/RES/70/212.
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, celebrated on 11 February, is implemented by UNESCO and UN-Women, in collaboration institutions and civil society partners that aim to promote women and girls in science. This Day is an opportunity to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. Gender equality is a global priority for UNESCO, and the support of young girls, their education and their full ability to make their ideas heard are levers for development and peace.
With annual observances and greater awareness of gender-bias, there are now more career opportunities for Women and Girls in Science. However, developing skills to ‘sell-our-value’ is just as important as passion and perserverance to earn what we are worth explains, Sue Barrett, CEO and founder of The Selling Better Movement and Sell Like A Woman.
What’s a science career?
Most people would say research scientist, laboratory technician, chemist, engineer, or academic. However, little do they know that a science career, whatever your discipline, can be a ticket to pretty much any career in the world. I know. I have a BSc that helped me forge a career path from the pharmaceutical industry to working in strategy, change management and ethical human-centred sales systems across industries around the world.
Science graduates are highly sought after by organistions across all sectors because science influences everything and the discipline of scientific thinking is essential in today’s complex world. But so are soft skills in demand too—empathy, listening, questioning, problem solving, collaboration, leadership, teamwork, etc.
This potent combination of science and soft skills opens many exciting career opportunities for women and girls. While we need more women in specific science-based roles, other careers abound. For instance, in world of conspiracy theories, effective science communication is essential. This opens the door to journalism, corporate communications, community engagement, sales, PR, even politics. Other opportunities can be found in systems design, circular economy, environmental restoration, redesigning healthy sustainable cities, water management, the renewable economy, etc. The list is endless.
Yet too many women go unnoticed for their extraordinary contributions to the advancement of science. The UN reports that “Women are typically given smaller research grants than their male colleagues and, while they represent 33.3% of all researchers, only 12% of members of national science academies are women.”
We can no longer tolerate women’s ground-breaking work being appropriated by others in their fields, being paid less, or being passed over for promotions.
We need to help create the conditions that enable more girls and women have flourishing successful careers in science and beyond. This is why I want to encourage and support women and girls in science to also develop their soft skills and sales capabilities so we can see more of their work and see them get the recognition they deserve at every level. Because it’s long overdue.
Remember, everybody lives by selling something.
Sue Barrett has a science degree from Monash University and offers courses on skill development to promote career advancement.