Women who work in STEM fields have historically found it challenging to land the jobs–and pay–they deserve, facing gender discrimination no matter what theire experience level is. If you’ve had a difficult time getting hired or haven’t been offered a promotion, it can affect your self-esteem and even your desire to keep working in the field you’re in, but it doesn’t have to be that way. While the challenges women face in these careers are very real, there are a few simple things you can do to combat and prevent them.

Boost your self-confidence

One problem many women in STEM fields face is a lack of confidence, which can get in the way of setting and achieving goals. There are several things you can do to feel better about yourself, starting with writing down a few goals and tracking your progress along the way. You can also look for a role model or mentor who can model their successes and help you see the value in what you do. Start networking with others in the field you’re in on social media or by attending conventions and other events, making it a point to strike up a conversation with someone you admire. You never know how many powerful connections you can make until you put yourself out there.

Break down those stereotypes

Another issue women face in STEM careers is an abundance of negative stereotypes in regards to their ability to do their jobs well simply because they’re a particular gender. While it can certainly be challenging to break down that negativity and prevent it from affecting you and your work, there are a few things you can do to fight against it, including hosting workshops to support other women in STEM fields, recruiting female students for a local class to help promote STEM learning, and keeping the conversation flowing about the many contributions women have made in these areas over the years. 

Know your worth

Despite the advancements women have made in STEM fields in recent years, there remains a disparity in salaries between women and men no matter what their experience levels are. An easy way to prevent this from happening to you is to know your value. Do some research on the average salary in your field, especially if you’re a student who will be graduating soon. There are several details that go into the number, including where you live, but it’s important to have some idea of what to expect before you go into a job interview. Demanding adequate pay is crucial for the future of women in STEM.

Start your own business or earn your master’s

Even if you’re prepared for a job interview, you may still find it difficult to land the exact job you want. The good news is, you can start your own business in the field you’re most drawn to and fund it with ease using grants. Know what you’re looking for in a business grant and do some research to figure out which ones are specific to your industry. Once you know which ones you want to apply for, take some time on your application and make sure it’s a perfect representation of your goals. 

Whether you’re starting a business or trying to enhance your career prospects, earning your master’s could bring you closer to success. Online learning programs offer flexibility and affordability, and you’ll be able continue to work as you learn.

Women face many professional challenges no matter what field they’re in, but by learning what they are and creating a strategy to change them, you can boost your confidence and take your career to the next level.

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