In Focus

Wrapping up the #womeninSTEM month

 Words: Cathrin Stover, GÉANT 

Between February 11th, where we celebrated the International Day for Women and Girls in Science, and March 8thwhich is the international Day of Women, here on @GÉANT_News we have been looking into the changes that we have seen in our organisation over the past years 

It was in 2015, when the UN General Assembly decided to establish an annual International Day to recognise the critical role women and girls play in science and technologySo, we have looked back to 2015 and have found, that our numbers seem to indicate progress.  

As GÉANT, we employ more women than ever, we have certainly increased the female representation in our Board of Directors and more and more women hold managerial or subject matter expert responsibilities in our organisation. This is a good result and one that we can be proud of. We need to retain this, commit to it and ensure to build on it for the objective of equality to be reached by 2030. That’s just nine years from now! 

One thing that we have changed over the past years is the wording in the job descriptions we make available and the words we use in our advertisements. I guess it takes all of us a while to trust our inner voice. It took me a while as well, but I have learnt over the years, that I need to like what I see and read. It is far too easy to accept somebody else’s words and trust “it will be okay”.  

So, I have made it my business to look at many of the ads we publish and ask myself: “Is this a job advert you would apply for, is the wording attractive?”. Specifically, when it comes to positions where more experience or seniority is required: “Is this actually a combination of requirements which a woman having had time-out for a family and kids, could meet?”.  

I very much believe that increasing female positions in STEM has a lot to do with employers making the working environment attractive and this starts with the job advert. Often, the simple addition of the values that we as an organisation believe in, makes a difference. Values are often reflected by applicants in their covering letters and they tell us how they relate to our values and why. Looking at our numbers across the organisation, we need to try and be more attractive to women in our very classical engineering roles 

So, as an outcome of this year’s Women in STEM considerationswe will make sure that we will check and where necessary rework job descriptions and ads for such roles and see if it helps us to attract more female engineers. It is another small step, but we hope it will be meaningful.