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Home » Women in STEM » Overcoming challenges and cultivating habits for women to excel in their STEM careers

Geetanjali Sharma

Staff Engineer – EDA Design Support, Infineon Technologies

Women in STEM can face unique challenges on their career journey, such as old, self-limiting habits. However, with strategic planning and a growth mindset, women can rise and excel in their chosen fields.

In today’s rapidly evolving world, STEM offers tremendous opportunities for women to shape the future. Here are some strategies that, I believe, can guide women on their path to success.

Breaking the perfection trap

Women could often blame themselves, reflecting and reliving mistakes to an extreme that can hinder progress and limit risk-taking, which is essential for growth in STEM careers.

By acknowledging areas for improvement without diminishing their worth, they can build visibility that will get them to the next level. Apart from expertise, women on the rise need to acquire power through means such as: power of connection; power of personal authority; and power of holding a senior position.

Think about your personal priorities —
not what will please others.

Beating the disease to please

Women — sometimes — refrain from taking stern decisions, become unassertive and soft in the fear of threatening others and creating a negative image because of their innate tendency to put relations first.

Developing assertiveness skills is crucial for effective communication and advocating for oneself. Practice assertive communication techniques, expressing opinions confidently and negotiating for opportunities and promotions. Think about your personal priorities — not what will please others.

Uncomfortable using the ‘I’ word

Women may often become reluctant to take responsibility for getting noticed, thus losing advantage for visibility and positioning. They often expect others to spontaneously notice and reward their contributions.

Ambition should not seem like a fault but rather a strength. If women do not communicate the substance of their work and take credit for their achievements, they may be thought to lack confidence in their abilities. They need to think about their value to the organisation, why their success matters and what greater good they can do if they are to rise to higher positions of influence and impact.

Helping more women succeed

If women find themselves succumbing to these habits, it’s important to know that they can be broken. By doing so, more women could see a clearer path to reaching their goals and show how valuable they can be to STEM.

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