2018 WISE Employer Award Winner

Costain, Costain Women’s Network

Represented by Mary Sutherland-James at Costain

Represented by Mary Sutherland-James

What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Whirlwind, Unexpected, Exciting

Who/what inspired you to strive for gender balance in STEM?

Myself? Seeing that I was not represented by the obvious lack of balance and diversity. It’s the morally correct thing to do for the next generation

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Feel the fear and do it anyway
Admit when you don’t know and ask lots of questions
What advice would you give to other companies about why gender balance in STEM matters today?

It’s not a fad. Diversity of thought means better outcomes for all and the bottom line! Keep up or get left out! Generation Z actively look for diversity statistics and will pass by companies that aren’t diverse and vibrant. If people believe that their company cares about them, they’ll care about the company and put more in.

What advice would you give to other companies about how they can champion gender balance in the workplace?

Show they care – own and respond
Get senior leadership actively involved
Take feedback seriously and be seen to be reacting to it
Create safe spaces and acknowledging that people’s experiences are valid
Encourage men to be aware of and acknowledge over-speaking and interrupting
Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

Keep talking! Talk about the female experience during COVID-19 and issues that many will/could have faced (domestic violence, caring responsibilities, unpaid work, redundancies (79% of redundancies because of COVID are female), reduction in promotion and development opportunities).

Keep promoting online events and cis/trans female only spaces.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Consider how they advertise roles/jobs
Consider where they advertise roles/jobs
Profile women in their organisation (not parade!)
Share real stories
Showcase exciting things; tech, good news stories, networks etc
Show how the industry is changing
Going in to schools, specifically girls school
What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

Technology at the forefront – potentially leading to less emphasis on being macho/dirty etc
More young people – leading change
50/50 gender balance
Greater general inclusion as a result of more visibility of diverse people

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