Challenging Stem: The STEM Gender Narrative By Jen Marsden

Challenging Stem: The STEM Gender Narrative By Jen Marsden

Jen Marsden studied Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough University before embarking on a career working on consumer appliances; she joined the SharkNinja team three years ago and leads as a Director of Design Engineering. Jen and her team launched this resource to support the women on staff internally as well as to educate university […]

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Jen Marsden studied Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough University before embarking on a career working on consumer appliances; she joined the SharkNinja team three years ago and leads as a Director of Design Engineering.

Jen and her team launched this resource to support the women on staff internally as well as to educate university women about the opportunities in-home technology and engineering who may not consider the career.
 

Words by Jen

As every industry sector continues to be revolutionised by technology, it is no surprise the opportunities in STEM are rising. Since 2017, employment into STEM has increased by 6.3%, which is more than six times that of the rise in the UK’s overall employment rate.

Although statistics show the number of women in STEM is slowly rising, the gender split is still unbalanced. In 2019 the number of professionals identifying as female stood at just 24%.

Unsurprisingly, this figure further reduces when looking at the number of women in leadership positions in tech. Last year, this stood at just 5%.

I wish I could be shocked by these figures, but unfortunately, I am not. I have never felt my gender to be a disadvantage to my career, but looking back, I realise I have always been in the minority. There were far fewer females than males on my Industrial Design & Technology course at University and unfortunately in the ten years since I’ve left, I don’t believe this gap has really closed.

When I left University, I started my career as a Product Design Engineer at a leading brand and was the only female in that role. As the team grew, females continued to be in the minority, and we struggled to fill roles with female designers and engineers at the same rate as we did males.

I believe the gender narrative within STEM is influenced by a multitude of factors, including the existence of unconscious gender bias, the lack of information and guidance given to girls and women about the opportunities in STEM and the pathways to these.

At SharkNinja, we are continually working to close that gap, by actively seeking to fill our talent pipeline with both women and men and ensuring women progress at the same rate as their male counterparts. To do our bit at tackling these issues more broadly, myself and a small group of colleagues also came together to initiate SharkNinja’s London WE Lead programme. WE Lead is an initiative which runs across the Boston and UK offices and consists of a series of events aimed at raising awareness of gender issues amongst all employees, creating a global support network for women across the business and providing education and entry avenues to students through joint ventures with universities and schools.

We all have our part to play at tackling these issues, as parents, educators, as professionals and employees. I am so pleased to be working for a company which puts such focus on equality in STEM and am excited to continue to spread this important message.

At SharkNinja, we are continually working to close that gap, by actively seeking to fill our talent pipeline with both women and men and ensuring women progress at the same rate as their male counterparts. To do our bit at tackling these issues more broadly, myself and a small group of colleagues also came together to initiate SharkNinja’s London WE Lead programme. WE Lead is an initiative which runs across the Boston and UK offices and consists of a series of events aimed at raising awareness of gender issues amongst all employees, creating a global support network for women across the business and providing education and entry avenues to students through joint ventures with universities and schools.

We all have our part to play at tackling these issues, as parents, educators, as professionals and employees. I am so pleased to be working for a company which puts such focus on equality in STEM and am excited to continue to spread this important message.

 

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jen-marsden

Website: https://www.sharkninja.com

 

 

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