According the to a National Science Foundation study, the percentage of women pursuing a degree in science or engineering is far lower than that of men. Consequently, this low percentage of future job candidates carries over into the workforce. Moreover, a related study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that just 5.5% of commercialized patent holders were female.
Why the disheartening numbers? There are many theories—far too many and diverse to cover in this blog. I prefer to focus on a solution: inspiration.
I was lucky—my interest in science and math developed during early childhood. My dad was an engineer and his passion for solving complex problems inspired me. Together, he and I used to solve thought-provoking, cryptic puzzles which eventually made me a die-hard fan of math and science.
My interest in these topics ultimately drove me to earn a M.S. degree in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) field. Along the way, I encountered many challenges that taught me how to adapt to challenges, seize opportunities, and hone my focus on STEM.
I joined Qualcomm in April 2012 and shortly thereafter was introduced to QWISE (Qualcomm Women In Science and Engineering). The QWISE organization—whose mission is to “Promote personal and professional growth of women in technology at Qualcomm and in the community”— gives Qualcomm women a platform to share ideas, seek guidance, discuss challenges and find opportunities to grow in their chosen careers. Since I joined QWISE, I have networked with other women, met professional speakers, learned about various Qualcomm programs and, above all, made many friends at work, which contributes to a good work/life balance.
I encourage all women to embrace challenges and join groups similar to QWISE, particularly if they have an interest in science and technology. Doing so will only strengthen their networks and encourage other women to pursue and advance in the careers of their choice.
QWISE is celebrating its 7th anniversary this year and I can’t wait to attend the planned events. I have attended QWISE’s past anniversary celebrations and have always gained a great deal of inspiration from them—exposure to senior executives at Qualcomm, the opportunity to network with professionals from Qualcomm and other hi-tech companies, advice on career advancement and information about professional development programs offered by QWISE. The event is open to all and I encourage you to attend—you will be inspired.
To learn more about this exciting event and to register click here.