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SUSTAINABILITY| 23.08.2021

Giving flight to STEAM careers

Marta Villalba

Donal Ruane

On the anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s historic coast-to-coast flight, we talk to five MAPFRE professionals who chose to pursue STEAM careers. 

Much research has been done on the subject of women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) careers. The most frequently given reason by young girls for not pursuing a career in one of these fields is the absence of female role models. And we certainly don’t need to look too hard to find some very discouraging statistics regarding women’s representation in these areas. For example, there are only 41 women (8.1 percent) CEOs in the Fortune 500 companies. Only 14 percent of startups in the USA have female founders, and in an age when record levels of venture capital funding are being raised, 65 percent of US VC firms have no female partners contributing to investment decisions. Data from the US suggest that 40 percent of women who graduate with engineering degrees either never enter the profession or eventually leave it. Only 26 percent of computer scientists are women.

However, positive developments have been made that need to be recognized too, most notably in the field of science, where the development of the various COVID-19 vaccines has been largely driven by women.

Women make up half of the world’s population, and in a period of rapid change and transformation such as the one we are experiencing now, it is imperative that they contribute fully and equally to the solutions being developed and adopted by society.

In terms of role models, at MAPFRE we are fortunate to be surrounded by accomplished women in numerous disciplines, and the MAPFRE Women’s Leadership Network is committed to promoting STEAM careers, both within the company and in society in general. This commitment manifests itself internally through the identification of women in these disciplines and the design of specific professional career development plans for them. Externally, awareness is created within society about the shortage of women in these areas, and a number of initiatives are executed to encourage schoolgirls to consider a career in one of these disciplines. One such initiative involved a series of interviews with a MAPFRE employee from each of the STEAM disciplines, in which they reflected on what led them to choose a STEAM career, what roles models influenced them and what obstacles they had to overcome to get to where they are today.