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Here's why women are lacking in STEM mentorship.

Have you ever noticed the lack of mentorship programs specifically for women in STEM? These programs exist, but they are just not talked about enough. Here, we shed light on the critical issue of the scarcity of mentorship opportunities for women in STEM fields and tackle the reason why. 

Woman in STEM career

Traditional Gender Roles and Responsibilities 

In many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), traditional gender roles and expectations often dictate that women prioritize family responsibilities over career aspirations. But, can you blame them? Many women are often encouraged to focus on nurturing skills rather than developing career-oriented skill sets. This leads to a decrease in the number of opportunities available for seeking mentorship and support in STEM fields. Also, societal pressures can lead to women focusing on domestic roles rather than professional development. Some women may internalize these biases and perceive themselves as less competent or deserving of mentorship, further perpetuating the lack of representation.  


Workplace Discrimination 

Discrimination in the workplace can create a hostile environment for women in STEM, making it challenging for them to access mentorship opportunities. A survey done by the Pew Research Center in 2017 found that half of women in STEM jobs say that they have been discriminated against at work because of their gender. Unfortunately, gender bias and stereotypes may lead to women being overlooked for mentorship roles or facing barriers to advancement within STEM organizations. 


Lack of Female Role Models 

The scarcity of female representation in STEM leadership positions and mentorship roles perpetuates a cycle of underrepresentation. According to Frontiers in Virology, women make up just 30% of scientists in Sub-Saharan Africa, 23% in Southeast Asia, 17% in South Asia, and 44% in Latin America. Without visible female role models to look up to, aspiring women in STEM may struggle to envision themselves succeeding in the field or may lack guidance on how to navigate the challenges they may face. 


Limited Access to Educational Resources 

In LMICs, women may have limited access to educational resources and opportunities compared to their male counterparts. Since girls are often socialized to assume domestic and care responsibilities, with the assumption that they will be economically dependent on men.  This disparity in access to quality education can hinder women's ability to pursue STEM careers and access mentorship programs that are often tied to academic institutions or professional networks. 


Overall, addressing the lack of mentorship for women in STEM requires effort. But how can one individual help make that change? Well, this would include promoting diversity and inclusion in your workplace, encouraging women in your community, as well as supporting initiatives to challenge stereotypes and create more supportive environments for women. These are all essential steps toward fostering gender equality in the workplace. 


Furthermore, it is essential to introduce women to STEM subjects early on to help dispel the stereotypes associated with STEM and provide them with role models. Programs like the Doyenne Initiative have been successful in inspiring women to pursue STEM education. By supporting the Doyenne Initiative, we can pave the way for a brighter future where women thrive in the world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Through your support, we can truly cultivate our mission, and continue creating a better world, one female leader at a time.


For more information regarding our programs, click here.  

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