March 8 is International Women’s Day – a day to both celebrate women’s achievements and recognize the challenges women still face in participating equally in markets around the world.
A recent report released by the World Bank states that only six countries around the world give women and men equal legal work rights, indisputably telling us that we can do better when it comes to gender equality. There is no denying that there has been progress over the years and women have great role models to look to for motivation. Role models that demonstrate that one person is enough to drive massive positive societal and economic change, as well as historic female changemakers. However, we need role models and mentors that we can turn to in our everyday lives, which is why we must increase the pipeline of women in STEM, starting with encouraging girls into STEM education.
At BlackBerry we are pleased to have many role models and opportunities for women in STEM and to support girls into STEM education. For International Women’s Day, I spoke with a few of my female colleagues to get their thoughts on how to make STEM education a more natural choice for girls and am sharing some of their comments and ideas here to help inspire a #BalanceforBetter.
Who is a female leader you admire and what inspires you about them?
“Anne Rigail the new Air France CEO. Like technology, the airline industry has few female CEO’s at 3%. I am enjoying her views on breaking glass ceilings, it’s inspiring.” – Christine Gadsby, United States
“I admire Dr. Danielle Martin, Canadian Family Doctor and advocate for Canadian public health. I admire her drive to preserve and improve education and research in health care policy.” – Sara Jost, Canada
“My mom because she didn’t have the option to pursue a career until later in life and once she had the opportunity, she seized it and went back to school, received a Masters in Social Work, and started working in family and children’s services. She delivered key messages to my sister and I almost daily over our childhood and young adulthood.” – Sarah Tatsis, Canada
How can we get more women and girls interested in STEM?
“More balanced programs aimed at young children, starting with the way toys and clothing are marketed. To get young people interested in STEM careers it needs to be something that is made available right from a young age.” – Kerry Davis, United Kingdom
“I would say education and emowerment are key within the family, and at school. STEM careers have to be promoted very early in schools, making clear that they are open to all!” – Virginie Adam, France
“I have learned through reading various studies that girls naturally believe they do not have the innate ability to understand math, science or engineering and that they also lack the confidence in themselves. This is a huge problem so let’s start educating them at much younger age. We need to foster interest in math and science and counter negative perceptions that they may have early on.” – Alison Canavan, Canada
How do you achieve a more gender balanced world?
“By mentoring women around me. By playing it fair regardless of anyone’s gender. And by working hard regardless of my gender.” – Elena Izakson, United States
“Always have gender equality in mind, no gender bias in education, work and even in daily life. Being a role model (an influencer) among your friends, family, co-workers, community and influence the next generation.” – Kathy Au Yeung, Hong Kong
“Ask that our male counterparts be allies and support us by giving us the space to excel in areas that have been largely male dominated.” – Paula Lozano-Lim, United States
BlackBerry is a leading global technology company that believes talent and teamwork have no boundaries of gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion. I have been a #TeamBlackBerry member for over ten years and am proud of the culture that BlackBerry promotes and its employees live by. A culture that is committed to being fair, diverse and inclusive and brings out the best work and character in people, to drive a more productive economy and a better society.
As the world continues to make progress towards gender equality, BlackBerry congratulates and thanks, women around the world for their strength and achievements and the men that are engaged in advancing women’s rights.