The Department of Energy (DOE) recently updated its Women@Energy webpage to include new profiles of female researchers and technicians working at its national laboratories. There are now over 250 profiles on the page, each celebrating a woman who works in a STEM field.
“We hope the stories and videos inspire women to think about the future and STEM,” says the Women@Energy webpage. “We can and should share our own STEM stories to help engage others and offer our voices on how our STEM careers have impacted us.”
The DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity created the program with 150 profiles in March 2013, expanding it less than a year later with the #WomeninSTEM video series focusing on clean energy careers. The profiles are used in classrooms across the country and are promoted by the DOE on Pinterest, a social media platform used by 44 percent of online women according to information released in August 2015 by Pew Research.
The new profiles include female scientists working at Jefferson Lab (CSM) and Fermilab (CSM). The women were each asked about what inspired them to work in STEM, what tips they have for others looking to enter the field and what can be done to engage more underrepresented groups.
“I think the most lasting and effective way to reduce the difficulties women and other underrepresented groups face in STEM is to normalize their presence, and publicize their struggles,” says Cindy Joe, a particle accelerator operator at Fermilab. She is one of 25 female staffers from Fermilab profiled on the site. “I often hear from women (or other minorities) who are scientists that they don’t want any special recognition—they just want to be known as scientists first and foremost. I agree! It’s what we’re all working for. But I also think that recognizing that these institutional and systemic and deeply rooted personal experience imbalances exist is a key step in making them go away. The truth is that they’re there. We can show that they’re there. They don’t have to be. Openly addressing the issues is the only way we can have a chance of solving them.”