Europe’s ability to innovate and advance is threatened by the skills gap. Bold moves need to be made to shift young people’s perceptions of STEM subjects and prepare them with 21st century skills and competencies to thrive in a digital world. Furthermore, gender stereotyping must be tackled – empowering girls and women builds sustainable business. From classroom to boardroom, we all have an urgent responsibility to encourage more women to work and succeed in STEM-related careers.
As referenced by the World Economic Forum, can we afford to wait until 217 years to close the economic gender gap between men and women? There are strong economic arguments about why we should care and respond. McKinsey research shows that organisations are 15% more likely to perform better if they are gender diverse. Added to this, it has been found that companies with more than 30% women in management positions have seen a 25% increase in profit rates on average.
Through Create Tomorrow, we are nurturing a culture of diversity and inclusion both inside and outside CA Technologies to inspire girls to study STEM subjects and support the advancement of women in STEM. With diversity in our DNA, our aim is to help address the gender imbalance by building positive perceptions of women in STEM and encouraging the next generation of females to enter STEM related careers.
Thrive, our global diversity and inclusion programme, is led by employees to help build a culture that is all-inclusive. As part of Thrive, we have a dedicated Gender Employee Resource Group, tasked with driving a greater level of gender balance across our European business and tackling gender stereotyping in the industry. This group provides counsel to ensure CA Technologies has policies, procedures and facilities in place to attract and retain female talent within our business. Each of our programmes is centred on our strong female role models, who are important in breaking down gender stereotypes and encouraging young females to consider future careers in STEM. But what can be done earlier to avoid gender stereotyping?
In almost every society, gender stereotyping is influenced from an early age shaped by ideas passed on from parents, family members, peers and by media. Girls are often expected to play with dolls and crayons, and boys with cars and more technical toys. This begins at home and continues in the classroom, and then often the workplace. These behaviours develop strong misconceptions about STEM, and can lead to girls feeling less confident about their abilities to do STEM. These “social norms” are having a far deeper impact on girls and young women than we may realise. The Girlguiding organisation’s recent survey, Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2017, revealed the overwhelming message that girls and young women believe gender stereotypes are entrenched in all areas of their lives. From a young age, girls sense they face different expectations compared to boys and feel a pressure to adjust their behaviour accordingly.
Parents and teachers have the potential to be influential role models to eliminate gender stereotyping. Teachers often underestimate the significant role they could play in countering gender stereotypes in STEM. A crucial step towards making a positive impact as role models, is to understand our own bias’ – and CA Technologies has taken this forward by rolling out unconscious bias training session opportunities to all its employees in Europe. Looking Forward: Disrupting the Social Norm 27 • White Paper • CA Technologies Corporate Social Responsibility in Europe ca.com
To take this further, through our partnership with STEM Alliance, CA Technologies will introduce teacher placements in Europe this year, where our STEM ambassadors will deliver unconscious bias training sessions to help teachers identify and manage stereotyping in the classroom.