The lack of women in STEM is all about perspective

Diana Faith Ochenge is a master’s in information assurance and cybersecurity student who shares her insights on being a woman in STEM.

What inspired you to pursue a STEM education and career?

I have always loved a challenge and it was the most feared and challenging path at the time. I am good in math so I figured I would be able to handle it or work my way through.

What do think are some of the most shared/common challenges women in STEM fields encounter?

I think the lack of women in the field could be either intimidating or empowering depending on how you choose to look at it. Intimidating in the sense that more often than not you are the only woman in the midst of men and this may cause the men not to treat you as their equal, give you easier tasks/projects, or overlook your opinion when it comes to solving problems. At the same time it could be empowering because the value and perspective you bring to the table is different. This may enable you to head projects and be viewed as an equal.

How have you overcome obstacles/challenges as a woman in STEM?

Always push myself to work hard and step up to handle projects that were deemed too hard or complicated

Knowing what you know now, what advice you would give your younger self?

You are on the right track, don’t let the feeling of inferiority get you off course.

What one takeaway would you want to impart on a young woman thinking of pursuing an education/career in STEM?

It is a fulfilling career, challenging but worth it.

What is an aspect of being a woman in STEM you were surprised to discover?

The support from other women in STEM, the men in STEM and the continuous encouragement to aim for more.

In your experience, what are the top things leaders could do to encourage more young women to enter STEM fields?

Talk about STEM fields more in order to create awareness, emphasis on equal opportunities in STEM careers and have workshops led by women and men in STEM careers aimed to motivate and mentor young women to venturing into STEM fields

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