Women in STEM: A step in the right direction

Reena Bajaj Posted by Reena Bajaj

To celebrate International Women’s Day this year on 08 March, I wanted to share my recent experiences speaking at a local school event to encourage girls to take up science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. 

“So, you’re a fortune-teller?”, said a 12-year-old girl when I tried to explain to her what data scientists do. I had used a simple example of predicting the stock need for a supermarket to meet their sales demand.

I was at a school event in North London, with some other women in technology, to encourage and inspire young girls to take up STEM education. We shared our life journeys and our experiences in STEM-related careers with the girls, who were at a critical decision point in their lives as to whether or not to pursue STEM as a career option. Most of them came from a background with very little or no educational support from their parents. Their parents were migrants, having come to the UK from other countries with dreams of providing a better life for their children.

Many girls had questions about STEM careers, and the culture and environment at the workplace. They asked me and other women on the panel about the progression of women in male-dominated industries such as data science, manufacturing, construction and sales. It was heartening to hear from the others on the panel about the kind of support they receive from colleagues at work. Personally, I spoke about my experience as a data scientist at Adthena.

Over the last two years, Adthena has made tremendous progress in ensuring a supportive work culture and environment for women. Within the company, and within the technology team, there is a good gender balance and diversity. About 36% of the technology team are women (half of those in data science and business analytics), which is uncommon in tech teams especially in startups. The culture at Adthena empowers women to drive and lead initiatives, provide stretch assignments, and set up informal networks to support women, such as our Women in Tech (WIT) group (pictured). 

At Adthena, we have one-on-one meetings every month with our managers outside the office, and this helps me to express any challenges and ambitions that I may have, and obtain my manager’s support. Overall, I enjoy working at Adthena and would like to see women grow from strength to strength in every function within the organisation in the years to come.

Back to the girls at the school, my key message to them was that, like Adthena, many organisations recognise that the strengths and benefits that women bring to any team are invaluable. 

In our society today, we are privileged to be in a position to make choices and obtain support, not just from other women, but from the wider work ecosystem around us to excel and progress. But there is still a long way to go. We can, and we should, contribute more proactively in advancing the world through technology by promoting careers in STEM.

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Read more from our series celebrating International Women’s Day 2020 here:

About Adthena 

Adthena is the world’s most advanced intelligence platform for paid search advertising. Our AI technology and machine learning models give our customers a clear view of the market shifts and all the moves their rivals make across the search landscape. Which means they can make informed, strategic decisions and ensure success, supported by our team of world-class industry consultants.

To find out more about how we work, take a look at our Tech Team Brochure, and if you’d like to join us, check out our current vacancies here

About the author

Reena Bajaj
Reena Bajaj
Reena is one of our Lead Data Scientists at Adthena. She has a masters in applied mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and experience in analytical tools, statistical methods, and machine learning techniques that solve complex business problems across sectors such as education, energy, and technology.