Did You Know?

Newspaper

Did you know that women rank their relationship with their boss as the most important factor in whether they stay at a company? A recent survey of women in global finance found that a supervisor’s attitude was the most important criterion for how women perceived their workplace, followed by salary, and the existence of female role models. This might come as a surprise to many companies that have chosen to focus on workplace flexibility and family-friendly policies, or building women’s networks, but not to those of you familiar with our Supervisor-in-a-Box resources.

“Veronique Poulard, global head of leadership and talent management at Société Générale, said initiatives to promote women to the upper echelons of any firm were only possible with support from top management. ‘A key success factor is the involvement and true commitment of the top management and especially the chief executive. You can have training and processes but if you don’t have someone at the top of the organisation who is committed to it on a day-to-day basis, it’s very difficult.’”

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Did you know that one Race to the Top funding winner is using its money to train STEM practitioners to become teachers? The Master of Arts in Teaching program at the University of Delaware uses funding won from the White House last year and a statewide focus on improved STEM education to train scientists to become K-12 teachers. Each aspiring teacher takes classes towards the Master’s degree while logging time in the classroom with a veteran teacher/mentor. According to the program’s directors, these aspiring teachers bring a wealth of “real-world” experience that helps answer students’ perennial question, “When am I ever going to use this?”

We’re reminded of similar programs, like Operation Reboot at Georgia Tech, that put scientific talent to good use inside K-12 classrooms using innovative collaborations. Do you know of others? Please let us know – we’d love to share them.

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Did you know that before growing iRobot into a 784-million-dollar company, Helen Greiner and her co-founders ran up credit card debt and strained to make payroll every month? Greiner and others spoke at Brandeis University this week on the topics of being a woman founder, the difficulty in obtaining venture capital, and how business plans change once you get into the thick of running your business. Other panelists included Una Ryan, president and CEO of Diagnostics For All, a non-profit that creates low-cost, easy-to-use, medical diagnostics for the developing world, and Daphne Zohar, founder and managing partner of PureTech Ventures, a Boston-based early-stage investment firm that specializes in novel therapeutics, medical devices, and research technologies. Irene Abrams, Associate Provost for Innovation, was moderator.

Ryan, a former academic, said: "To be successful, you need two things. You need the right technology -- something that intrinsically lowers the cost of goods. And you also need the right business plan. [You need] something sustainable, something that will outlive you." She said students with a good idea for a business should "Just do it. Get started. And don't give up until you're so wealthy that you can help someone else."

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Did you know that a National Academies Report described the talents of underrepresented minorities as being “squandered” because of a lack of access to STEM fields? At KIPP DC: AIM Academy, a charter school with a predominantly African American student population, organizers of the FIRST Robotics team are hoping that robots will make a difference toward the National Academies’ call to double the number of minority scientists. At KIPP DC, as at many schools struggling to close the achievement gap, robotics clubs are sometimes considered an “extravagance.” With funding from local company Booz Allen Hamilton and volunteers from local tech companies supplying the coaching and afterschool support, the Symbiotic Titans hope to put themselves on the map. As 14-year-old team member Brittany Robinson put it, “It’s not about social status … It’s about robotics.”

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Did you ever wonder whether we might increase women’s participation in occupations where they are underrepresented, such as technology, if we increased men’s participation in traditionally female occupations? Stanford University sociology professor Paula England calls the one-dimensional shift in gender roles a “stalling” of feminism, and suggests that one reason men do not gravitate to traditionally female jobs in the way that women have bridged into traditionally male jobs that society devalues female jobs. She cites research showing that “female-dominated occupations pay less than jobs with a higher proportion of men even when factors like education and skill level are taken into account.”  As a result, says England, “women’s lives have changed more than men’s.” Is it possible that in order to advance greater change for women in male-dominated roles, we need men to bridge the gender divide, too?

Did You Know? is a brief round-up of information and news that crossed NCWIT’s radar this week that we think might be of interest to you. Practices or content of the news presented are not vetted or endorsed by NCWIT.