International Women's Day: A Toast to All Women in STEM

Today, March 8, marks International Women's Day. It’s a time for individuals and companies to take stock of progress made on the front of gender parity, celebrate achievements, and continue with the incremental steps that add up to real change.

Striving for gender parity in business

Across the globe, the gender gap has long been apparent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Despite high demand for more work skills in these areas and women earning 57% of college degrees in the U.S., there is still gender imbalance in most STEM occupations. As of 2017, women make up just 16%, 29%, and 27% of engineering, physical science, and computer and mathematical occupations, respectively.

This gap becomes even more pronounced the more advanced the technical work gets, or the higher up the managerial ladder you look. In both 2019 and 2020, the percentage of women in senior management roles was 29% across industries. A more detailed breakdown is shown in the image below.

 

Figure 1

 

Why does this matter?

Diversity helps drive profits. Both men and women have much to bring to the table, including different types of perspectives and experiences that can translate into new ideas, higher levels of innovation and improved products and services. Companies benefit when they capture a greater portion of this breadth.  

The numbers speak

Research shows that inclusiveness within business teams leads to decisions that are made 2x faster, in half the amount of meeting time, and that deliver 60% better results when executed. (These metrics come from evaluating 600 business decisions made by 200 business teams across many companies, over a  2 year span) Also, the more women on company executive teams, the greater the likelihood of the company attaining above-average profits. Companies with the highest levels of gender diversity (>30% women) on their executive teams have 48% greater likelihood of high company performance compared to those with the least (<10%) or none at all.

Ursa Space Systems: leading the way

This is good news for Ursa Space Systems, which stands out as one of the only companies in the geospatial industry with gender parity. With our recent hiring of Nicole Robinson as President, we’re able to make the very rare claim of 60% female leadership at the executive level. Also, there are women on all teams and at multiple levels throughout the company.

 

Ursa Space team leadership gender parity

 

How did this level of gender inclusivity come about? From Ursa Space’s inception, Adam Maher, Chief Executive Officer and founder, has made a point of casting a wide net while hiring, with the  aim of capturing diverse skills and backgrounds that foster innovation—while also focusing on fair and merit-based hiring practices. Julie Baker, Chief Operating Officer and co-founder, has proven to be a strong and inspirational female mentor within the company. 

 

Julie Baker, Ursa Space, Rev Ithaca, Women in Tech and Entrepreneurship

Julie Baker presents at Rev Startup Works, a business incubator in Ithaca, NY.
Ursa Space sponsored a networking event to bring together women in technology and entrepreneurship.

 

If the statistics are any sign, Ursa Space’s teams of smart, skilled, and creative men and women can be expected to keep forging the way forward in more ways than one. Our hope and plan is to continue to increase diversity in all areas as we grow.

We raise a toast to the many women who are accomplishing great things in STEM fields—may your numbers continue to grow, to the benefit of us all!

Jodie Mangor