Breaking Barriers: Women in STEM – Axios Reception in Washington, D.C.
The big picture: On Wednesday, November 15, Axios managing editor Alison Snyder and health care reporter Maya Goldman hosted conversations at an evening reception event in Washington, D.C. exploring opportunities for women within the STEM ecosystem – from mentorship programs to initiatives aimed at encouraging young women to pursue and thrive in STEM careers.
Guests included NASA Science Mission Directorate associate administrator Nicola Fox and Howard University College of Medicine dean and vice president of clinical affairs Dr. Andrea A. Hayes Dixon.
- Nicola Fox on the growing number of women in STEM leadership positions: "There are a lot of women, and so I think that we are doing well at women role models. I mean, you can look through industry, there's a lot of women at the top and in the upper leadership of many of our large aerospace companies, so I think we're doing well in providing role models for women … But I still think we're a ways off providing real diverse leadership for people to see and think, I can do that, and I think that's still a gap. But I think that we really are recognizing women and providing really good role models for the next generation."
- Dr. Andrea A. Hayes Dixon on the importance of advocating on behalf of other women: "I think we need more of us, you know, more women in STEM, more mentors. It's all about the mentors, and it's not just the mentors. It's what I call sponsorship, where it's not just mentoring, it's me picking up the phone and calling…my colleague and saying, 'This individual is stellar, you need to take a look at them. You need to hire them.' And really advocating on that person's behalf. That's a different level of commitment, and the more people, the more women we have in STEM that are doing that, the better everybody else is going to be, and the more excellent we are."
In a View from the Top segment, American Association for the Advancement of Science chief program officer Julia MacKenzie emphasized the societal benefits of expanding diversity in the scientific workforce.
- "So for AAAS, our mission tagline is advancing science and serving society, and what we recognize is that you can't do either without ensuring that the scientific workforce is an inclusive workforce, it's a place where diverse perspectives and backgrounds and identities can thrive, and that we have a lot of work to do to make that a reality. And the fruits of the labor of science can't benefit all of society, they'd only benefit a sliver of society, unless you have that diversity. So it's really central to our mission."
Thank you to L'Oréal for sponsoring this event.