Attracting girls and women into scientific careers

Attracting girls and women into scientific careers

Campaign(s) - Women of Weather (United States of America)
Organization NOAA/NWS
Country USA
Description Highlight females in the organization via multi-media campaign materials. This has been done both ad-hoc with developed multi-media materials, and as targeted campaign aligned with women's special emphasis months/dates. The materials are designed to include visible examples of successful women in the agency doing weather and climate work. The materials include images, biographies, and graphically appealing elements designed to catch the attention and education with the ultimate goal of attracting more females into the agency.    

Period

The agency did a focused campaign in March 2016 and March 2017; but perpetuates the use of images in many media forums the organization utilizes.     
Issue Addressed The practice is a direct attempt to improve recruiting and retention of a female workforce where currently exists a male majority. 

Results / Impact

The materials and campaigns were all well received both inside the agency and outside; the biggest advantage of which is improved reputation of the agency as female friendly, which better enables recruiting efforts. 
Success Factors / Replicability Requirements for success are having a very good professional quality materials that are visually appealing, attention getting, and reflect well on the organization.  

Limitations/

Challenges 
There are no constraints, the sky is the limit on ways in which such materials can be utilized. 
Sustainability There were some costs involved in creating such materials, however this was largely mitigated by having much of the work done by university students through an agreement between the agency and a local university. 
Lessons Learned Once materials are produced use them as often as possible across as many platforms as possible. 

 

National Future Day (Switzerland)
Organization MeteoSwiss
Country Switzerland
Description

The goal of National Future Day is to promote open career and life planning for school children, re-gardless of gender. Girls and boys from the 5th to 7th class (aged 11-14) are invited to accompany a relative to work at MeteoSwiss for one day. (The idea is that girls accompany their fathers, and boys go with their mothers). On the day, the diverse range of work at MeteoSwiss is introduced.     

Period

The National Future Day (with MeteoSwiss taking part) exists since 2001.     
Issue Addressed The practice was introduced to break up the one-dimensional occupational image for girls.

Results / Impact

Generally, the Future Day has been well received. Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide evidence of its measurable impact.
Success Factors / Replicability It is important to present the different occupations in a non-judgemental way. 

Limitations/Challenges 

No
Sustainability In Switzerland, this initiative is planned and supported by the national level. The total costs for MeteoSwiss are estimated at CHF 1000 per year. 
Lessons Learned One positive take-home message is that, due to the diverse range of occupations at MeteoSwiss, an immense know-how exists. All employees are highly motivated to share their knowledge with the next generation. 

 

Dismantling barriers among genders (United Arab Emirates)
Organization National Center of Meteorology
Country United Arab Emirates
Description

According to its strategic plan, the National Center of Meteorology (NCMS) seeks to attract a great number of students regardless of focusing on a specific gender to qualify in meteorology and seismology. NCMS initiated a bachelors program in 2014 with Polytechnic and more than 70% of the accepted students were female. This indicates that the Center is against gender discrimination.

NCMS female personnel had opportunites to hold high level postions.The first high postion was the Director of the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science which is held by Alya Al Mazrouie and many more are in managerial positions. 

Period

2014     
Issue Addressed Meteorology and seismology are new fields in UAE and lack the attention of students. School visits, newspaper articles and advertisments assisted in attracting students to major in meteorology.

Results / Impact

The programme is very effective for females who do not have the opportunity to study abroad and are interested in majoring in meteorology. The first batch of females majoring in meteorology will graduate in 2018. 

Success Factors / Replicability The vision of H. Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is to promote the role of women in different fields. This helped NCMS to attract female students to enroll in the different STEM fields.

Limitations/Challenges 

It is a new field and female students are reluctant to major in STEM because such fields are dominated by men. NCMS overcame this problem and offered scholarships for females in STEM.
Sustainability Regular budget to keep this program going.
Lessons Learned Giving females the chance to enroll in fields that were previosly dominated by men.

 

Guides Explore Science and Technology (GuEST) (Canada)
Organization Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC)
Country Canada
Description

The Girl Guides of Canada is an organization where, since 1910, has prepared girls to meet the challenges that they face in their lives head on. Whether it was girls learning to bandage wounds during the First World War or girls today working on their anti-bullying badge, the program continually evolves to reflect the needs and interests of contemporary girls and women. They enable girls to be confident, resourceful and courageous and to make a positive difference in the world. This event reached out to over 200 girls within Girl Guides and the MSC hosted a science session in Kelowna.

Period

The science session hosted by the MSC was held in June of 2013. MSC has also worked with Girl Guides to provide STEM programming and forecast support for their large provincial camps. 
Issue Addressed The goal was to share scientific meteorological and environmental information in order to raise awareness of the programme and to attract more girls to science, technology, meteorogology and similar disciplines.

Results / Impact

The session was hosted at the MSC's Kelowna site, on the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus with great success. There, girls learned about the science meteorology and weather forecasting.

The Girl Guides of Canada also encourage girls and women to attend camps which allow for great numbers of girls to gather and experience new things together. The MSC hosted a meteorological session for over 200 girls where girls could ask questions about the science and its service to Canadians.

Success Factors / Replicability It was important for the girls to visit the official MSC site where there is a weather station, a balloon launch and meteorological equipment.  They were able to see the MSC's weather balloons, anemometers and Stevenson screens. It became more real for the girls' learning to actually visit such a site where they could see the equipment first hand.

Limitations/Challenges 

There is an inherent cost to planning and preparing for such sessions. MSC staff volunteered their time for this session, and Guides helped reimburse some of the costs of materials. In some cases, they could be given time in lieu for their outreach work. From the perspective of outreach, the challenge lies in the numbers. The Girl Guides of Canada allow for an excellent point of contact to reach out to many girls at any given time however even 200 girls in a single camp is merely a drop in the bucket.
Sustainability This type of work can only be sustained with support from senior management and with the big hearts of volunteers. The need for this type of outreach is there but it is up to each organization to take the initiative, as the MSC has done to some degree, and leverage that interest to make a difference in the lives of as many girls as possible.
Lessons Learned There is no shortage of girls out there who could benefit from similar outreach activities such as this one. What worked well was using an organization such as Girl Guides to quickly find the right target audience (and the right age) to reach out to as many girls as possible.  What continues to be a challenge is to find volunteers and time to be able to continue the momentum and sustain the longevity of such great initiatives.

 

Pathways Internship Programme (United States of America)
Organization NOAA/NWS
Country United States of America
Description

All year-around NWS provide internship opportunities to deserving students and graduates through the Pathways Programme. The latter was designed to help agencies recruit and hire well-qualified students and recent graduates. The programme is another resource in attracting talent and filling key competency gaps. The programme provides applicants with clear paths to internships and full-time employment, as well as meaningful training, mentoring and career-development opportunities.  

Period

Continuous
Issue Addressed The Programme support agencies’ efforts to fill workforce needs.

Results / Impact

The NWS currently employees 22 interns, with another 10 in the process of being hired. Of the 22 currently on-board, approximately 45% are female. This percentage is significantly higher than the current 19% of women in our workforce.

Success Factors / Replicability Requirements for success are having a good message and brand and continuous outreach to colleges and universities.    

Limitations/Challenges 

Budget constraints/cuts limit the number of students hired.  
Sustainability Dedicated annual funding for the programme.
Lessons Learned The key take is: The Agency needs to increase the number of internships offered. What worked well was the fact that the number of females hired using this process increased.   

 

Outreach: K-12 and College (United States of America)
Organization NOAA/NWS
Country United States of America
Description

Women are underrepresented in the NWS workforce. The NWS goal is to increase the number of women interested in and graduating with degrees in NWS related sciences. NWS has employees in the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management Division designated to perform targeted outreach to underrepresented groups. One such group are young girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade.

NWS leadership believes that motivating young girls to participate science at a young age will inspire them to pursue STEM degrees in college. As a demonstration of its commitment to this belief, the NWS has assigned a full time employee from the Diversity Division to collaborate with faculty and students in over 122 locations across the United States. 

Additionally, the United States government has mandated since the 1970s that a federal Women’s programme be organized and funded to conduct outreach to women who are pursuing college degrees that are compatible with the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to serve as a hydrologist or meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

The Federal Women’s programme manager collaborates with Forecast Office throughout the United States for the purpose of coordinating a national outreach program designed to encourage women to pursue weather service careers.

Period

This practice was initiated by President Richard Nixon in 1973. 
Issue Addressed

The United States Government recognized that women were underrepresented in the federal government based on their availability in the civilian labour force. 

Results / Impact

The practice has been relatively successful based on availability, budgetary constraints, and active efforts by local hiring officials to specifically target women for recruitment.

The impact has been an active effort by leadership to implement policies, procedures, and common practices that encourages outreach efforts, equal employment opportunities, benefit packages that are designed to attract female applicants to the Weather Service. Reaching out to women and young girls is a long term proposition, but the agency believes that the time and financial resources are an investment that will result in more women joining the NWS over the course of the next decade. 

The practice has resulted in tangible improvements. For instance, the Agency consciously tries to ensure hiring panels have female representation, the Agency’s Diversity Division is increasing both its financial support and number of outreach visits.

Success Factors / Replicability

Long-term Agency commitment has been key to success. To be able to replicate, leadership commitment and mid-level management buy-in are considered essential.

Limitations/Challenges 

There are challenges which are being addressed through an ongoing discussion between the Diversity Director and Agency leadership regarding increasing funding and the number of individuals conducting outreach. Additionally, the need to have continuous mentorship with girls/women interested in science is also a topic of discussion.
Sustainability

A larger outreach staff and dedicated annual funding for travel are needed to achieve institutional sustainability. Cost will be dictated by organizational needs.

Lessons Learned Outreach works. Targeted outreach is more effective. Plus, when at all possible send female scientists to speak with participants. STEM fields are perceived as male, when girls see a woman in a position, they internalize it and their goal becomes that much more tangible.   

 

Increasing the Recruitment and Involvement of Women in the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (Switzerland)
Organization Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (OFEV)
Country Switzerland
Description

Increase the recruitment of women to OFEV (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM) by approximately 12% (from 34% to 46%), focusing on the needs of women: part-time roles, including in management positions.

Period

The last 10 years, and it is ongoing.
Issue Addressed

There were very few women at OFEV in general, and hardly any in management positions.

Results / Impact

Today, part-time employment is in very high demand for men, too.

Women pursue careers like men, are paid like men and can even work part-time in a management position. 

Success Factors / Replicability

The goal of increasing the proportion of women at OFEV is included in the annual objectives with target values. Every year, there is reporting and open discussion of the progress of the objective (balance between target level and actual level).

In addition, OFEV has the support of the management, with follow-up by HR.

Limitations/Challenges 

Initially, there was a lot of discussion about the idea of part-time employment as people often thought that appointing people on a part-time basis would make the work more difficult. When we gave it a try, people saw that it is often better, as it improves the work-life balance and the women are highly motivated by the fact that they can work while also having time for family, etc. 
Sustainability

Patience and willingness to talk to people (often, there are fears) are needed. In addition, the management needs to pull in the same direction.

The total cost is relative: more people are needed, as women in Switzerland like working part time; it also means that if someone is off sick there are more people available to cover them.

Lessons Learned Already mentioned: great success, so much so that many men now also want to work part time, or already do (work-life balance).