Our industry is built on innovation and our members are committed to ensuring that all people are able to participate in and benefit from the biosciences industry. Our members have been making strives to improve the representation of women in their companies. Women now make up 49% of employees, compared to 45% in 2019*. But we still have work to do as an industry, women represent only 34% of executive teams and only 20% of CEOs*. 

iBIO is committed to working with our community partners and continues to lead STEM programs for girls in underserved communities in Illinois.

iBIO’s SVP of Charitable Program’s Ann Vogel on why STEMgirls Camp focuses on grades 3-8 and what else needs to be done to support women in STEM…

In terms of what else can be done to support women in STEM,  here are a few thoughts…

Unconscious bias is an enomous problem that must be challenged every time we see it. We need to recognize our own biases and stubbornly dispel them at home with our families, in our schools, in our workplaces and in the way we talk to and about one another. 

Young children are all naturally curious, but we tend to encourage exploration by boys much more than girls. We need to create opportunities for young girls to tinker, play, make messes and problem solve and then we must communicate relentlessly that all of this is STEM. And they are not only doing STEM they are good at STEM. This helps girls build a STEM identity. The earlier you can build a STEM identity, the more resilient it will be when it is inevitably challenged by the world. Girls-only programs like the ones offered by iBIO is an important first step to creating STEM identity and building that resilience, but it must be combined with co-ed activities so that boys can see girls achieving.  

We can never stop pushing for equality. Investing in programs for elementary-school girls might seem like a very long game. It is simply a long time from 3rd grade to the workforce, but the reality is sustained engagement is what is needed to change generations of inequality. We must commit to building the entire pipeline — doing the long work of building STEM identity in the future female workforce while amplifying women’s voices and elevating women to positions of leadership in our companies. 

iBIO’s STEMgirls camp in North Chicago/Waukegan has been helping develop the STEM identities of girls in the community since 2016.  It’s inspiring to think about the future impact our STEMgirls campers will make with the tools and confidence they have achieved!

Meeet the companies and organizations that are led by women in our community…

Last week iBIO launched iBIO Connect, a resource to help build stronger connections in our ecosystem. One of the features built into iBIO Connect was the ability to make the platform searchable and highlight the businesses and organizations in our community that are led by women founders or CEOs. 

Take a look at the list on iBIO Connect. https://ibioconnect.org/list/female-led-organizations

* “Measuring Diversity in the Biotech Industry: Tracking Progress in Small and Large Companies