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Women in STEM roles ‘feel like frauds’

Byron Connolly | June 20, 2017
Imposter syndrome, cognitive bias during hiring, and lack of interest possible reasons for drop in women in STEM roles.

“I think it’s an Australian cultural thing as well,” she said. “I grew up being able to self-promote, and the Australian women that I was mentoring, maybe they didn’t grow up with being told to say how great you are at the time – the tall poppy thing that happens here. You have to get rid of the tall poppy [syndrome] when talking about yourselves.”

Allen’s Patterson suggested women in tech should converse with their marketing colleagues and learn the intricacies of self-promotion.

“Technical people tend to be good at solving complex problems. You think that your value is going to be in solving complex problems but once you arrive at a particular level, your value is actually about influencing people and building relationships combined with these [technical] skills.”

Chivers, who is in her mid-40s, believes that women in their mid-50s and 60s who are running organisations “have one hell of a glass ceiling.” She says that these business leaders weren’t necessarily willing to help women of her generation.

“There were very few of them that were [helpful]. They had to act like men to get there and if we weren’t prepared to do it too, then tough. The ladies in my age group felt that lack of support. But what I am finding now is that there’s a new culture that seems to be developing across senior executive [ranks] where we are all supporting each other,” she says.

“We are also working with the millennials to work out how the heck to fit them into the organisation as well. So that groundswell of support is something you should tap into.”


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