Why women must look beyond the stats to realise the potential of STEM careers

Young women in STEM careers


Cyndi Festa, Head of Data Sources at Encompass Corporation, explores the benefits of a STEM career and advocates for inspiring women to join the industry. With STEM professionals at the forefront of innovation, Festa highlights the continuous learning opportunities, transferable skills, and sense of purpose in STEM fields.

One in five men believe women are less suited to taking up technology-focused roles, according to research from the Fawcett Society.

These figures, which came hot on the heels of STEM Day – an annual opportunity to celebrate all that is good about the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics industries, as well as encourage the next generation of those ready to make their mark – are a stark reminder that, although progress has been made, there is much to be done to address the gender gap and build truly inclusive environments where all employees can flourish.

With women reporting a “toxic” culture in some facets of the industries, the time is now to break down the perceived barriers by showing the benefits of what can be a hugely rewarding career path. Doing this will encourage more to pursue their goals in spaces that facilitate meaningful progress and unlock the vast potential of individuals who have so much to offer.  

STEM careers

In this article, Cyndi Festa, Head of Data Sources at Encompass Corporation, explores the benefits of a STEM career and how we can inspire women into the industry.

Data management veteran Cyndi Festa is a key member of Encompass’ global Product team, leading the sourcing of the critical KYC information that powers the Encompass platform and enables customers to effectively carry out their KYC and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) processes. 

Cyndi joined Encompass from Dun & Bradstreet, the leading provider of business decisioning data and analytics, where she enjoyed a distinguished career spanning more than 15 years. Operating globally, she steered areas including data operations, data engineering and data quality.

Chasing the benefits of a STEM career

In today’s ever-evolving world, the opportunities within STEM fields are more promising than ever. A career in STEM offers a multitude of advantages that incorporate both personal and professional fulfilment, skills development, the establishment of valuable networks, and powerful lasting contributions to society.

STEM professionals often find themselves at the forefront of groundbreaking innovations that impact nearly every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s pioneering scientific discoveries, cutting-edge technological advancements, or ingenious engineering solutions, these crucial careers provide a profound sense of purpose and achievement. The ability to contribute to critical developments that benefit society is deeply fulfilling, inspiring, and motivating.

One of the most significant advantages of following this professional pursuit is the continuous opportunity for learning and development. STEM professionals are encouraged to be lifelong learners, perpetually expanding their knowledge and enhancing their skillsets. This ensures that individuals remain relevant in a fast-moving job market and continue to make impacts that will stand them in good stead.

The skills and qualities gained also extend beyond the technical domain, encompassing areas such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and adaptability. These are highly transferable and serve individuals well in various professional settings, further enhancing the appeal of what can be life-changing careers.

Outside of the tasks at hand, there are also unique opportunities that come along to build networks of likeminded people who are intent on making a difference. Collaboration within cross-functional teams is a fundamental aspect of many STEM positions, which enriches personal growth by opening people up to learning from others who ignite their own passions.

Additionally, STEM careers provide a continuous path for advancement. The dynamic nature of the landscape, characterised by evolving technologies and methodologies, ensures ongoing exposure to new challenges and opportunities. As the world increasingly relies on science and technology for progress, there can be no denying that the people at the centre of this play a pivotal role in shaping our future, and the significance of that continues to be evidenced with each passing day.

Inspiring women to realise their STEM ambitions

Inspiring women to pursue STEM-focused careers encourages them to see beyond the perceived barriers that have long been spoken about within these fields. It is critical that they do not let such barriers, or stereotypes, dictate their choices.

If we are to see the industries progress at the rate expected, we must tap into female talent, and it is essential for aspiring contributors and leaders to recognise their capabilities and strive for opportunity, regardless of societal notions. By challenging and overcoming, women can feel empowered on the road to success.

The technology sector, particularly, offers an abundance of possibilities for women to make a significant difference and, in doing so, shape game-changing innovation of the future. Embracing technology and engaging with it as a dynamic and evolving discipline can allow women to harness its potential and their own. By seizing these opportunities, they not only have the chance to advance their careers, but also enjoy it because, as can sometimes be forgotten, technology is a fun and enjoyable sector that allows creative people to prosper.

The power of role models

As with any career, in STEM, women must see it to know they can be it – and this is why it is imperative that we foster an inclusive, open, and welcoming environment that entices the leaders of tomorrow. Those paving the way today must be given the space to inspire the next generation with their achievements and demonstrate that gender is not a barrier to reaching goals.

Women in STEM should see their potential, pursue their ambitions, and think like leaders. By doing so, they can motivate and be that example that many need to go after their own hopes and dreams. Strong role models help to break down stereotypes and shatter glass ceilings– with STEM being no different.

As the world of technology, especially, advances at pace, with its solutions ever important across industries, it is essential that businesses and individuals alike work together to create a diverse workforce that can power the enhancements needed. Addressing preconceptions, and prioritising bringing people from all walks of life, with differing experiences and skillsets, in will be key to ensuring that our society benefits from the full spectrum of talent and creativity that women can bring to STEM’s critical fields.


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