Today is International Women's Day, a day that was established to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. It's also a day to reflect on the progress that still needs to be made toward gender equality. As a life science company, it’s important to us at CST to take a moment to reflect on the contributions women are making in the STEM fields, to celebrate how far we’ve come, and to think about strategies to continue promoting gender equality in the workforce.
For this post, we spoke with some of the inspiring women at CST to learn more about their experiences in the STEM field, the lessons they’ve learned during their careers, and their thoughts on this year's theme for International Women’s Day, #EmbraceEquity.
Celebrating Female Voices at CST
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Women in STEM at CST: Spotlight on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
At CST, we believe that innovation thrives when diversity is embraced, but recognize that women continue to be underrepresented in many STEM careers. Despite the progress that has been made in recent years to encourage more girls and women to pursue careers in STEM, many often still face barriers such as discrimination, bias, and a lack of support and mentorship. According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women currently make up 48% of the overall workforce in the US, but only 34% of the STEM workforce. Women hold only about 26% of STEM leadership positions, and overall, Latina, Black, and Indigenous women represent less than 10% of the STEM workforce in the US.
Globally, data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics show that less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women, and numerous studies have found that women in STEM fields publish less, are paid less for their research, and do not progress as far as men in their careers.
At CST, we are proud to say that 50% of our global workforce is female, and 46% of our global business leaders are female. Among our executive leadership team, 33% are female. For our global, STEM-specific workforce—including lab scientists, IT, and the R&D team—52% are female.
While there is, of course, still work to do, we are proud of the strides we’ve made toward female representation across CST as a whole and within STEM-specific roles.
Empowering Women in the Workforce at CST
One of the ways in which we empower women at CST is through our Women's Employee Resource Group, RISE (Represent, Inspire, Empower, Support). The group’s mission statement is: With our allies, we support and empower all who identify as women at CST by providing programs that advance the representation of women at our organization, enable collaboration, and promote learning to build gender equity.
RISE focuses on building internal and external networks among women at CST, creating equal career opportunities, improving transparency, and inspiring dialogue about important issues affecting women in the workplace. This past fall, the group organized office-wide, virtual attendance at The 2022 Massachusetts Conference for Women. Over 130 global employees attended the two-day conference, and the meeting facilitated important discussions around strategies to renew, reconnect, and reset—the conference’s theme for 2023—in the year ahead.
RISE also organizes frequent workshops on topics such as workplace negotiation, women's leadership development, and effective self-advocacy. These workshops are not only attended by CST women, but are open to all employees, helping to ensure that everyone at the company is aware of the conscious and unconscious biases that can affect women in the workplace. These workshops, and our focus on embracing diversity, help to ensure that we’re communicating effectively and approaching internal communications with an awareness of ensuring that all voices are heard.
Check out the additional blog posts below to learn what it's like working as a scientist in the STEM field, as well as CST:
- Life Science Careers: A Day in the Life of a Product Scientist
Product Scientist Q&A: From Bench Scientist to Benchtop Support
- Restoring a Living Shoreline: CST Volunteers with Salem Sound Coastwatch
- Environmental Stewardship and 1% for the Planet Drive Global Giving at CST