During National Mentoring Month, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz, Million Women Mentors Connecticut Chapter, Paradigm for Parity, Department of Housing, and Girls for Technology Underscore the Critical Need for Role Models to Encourage More Young Women to Pursue Careers in Male-dominated Fields
With women vastly underrepresented in STEM and male-dominated industries such as construction, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Million Women Mentors Connecticut Chapter state Chairwoman Carolyn Alessi, Paradigm for Parity coalition Founder and Co-chair Jewelle Bickford, state Department of Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno, and Girls for Technology Founder, President and CEO Sabrina Tucker-Barrett today underscored the critical need for introducing young girls to female mentors at a young age to further advance women in these fields and close the gender gap.
High-skill and high-wage careers in the STEM fields are in high-demand, but too often, women are underrepresented in these industries, resulting in a large gender gap. Women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, but they hold less than 25 percent of jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. And of the people working in construction, women comprise only 10.3 percent of the jobs.
“Our young girls have the power to change the world, but for too long, women have been underrepresented in STEM fields. We can inspire more women to pursue degrees and careers in STEM by introducing them to female role models who have each made significant advancements in their own fields. By giving our young girls inspirational figures to follow in the footsteps of, we can show them that if someone who looks like them can become the first female astronaut or pilot, a groundbreaking chemist, or a pioneering physicist, they can become the history-makers of tomorrow and achieve their dreams,” said Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz.
National Mentoring Month, which is held in January, serves as an opportunity to amplify the importance of introducing young women to mentors at an early age to help break the cycle of girls shying away from STEM degrees and careers. Jan. 29, 2021 is “Thank Your Mentor Day.”
Million Women Mentors is the premier network dedicated to encouraging girls and women around the world to pursue, persist and succeed in STEM careers.Million Women Mentors Connecticut Chapter is a local statewide movement that represents all STEM fields in the state. Through this movement, Million Women Mentors Connecticut Chapter aims to help companies recognize the value of mentoring early on, promote mentoring in grades pre-K through 12, and increase mentoring opportunities for minority girls and women.
“Girls with a mentor are 2.5 times more likely to be confident in their ability to succeed in school and career. We are committed to ensuring our young girls and women in this great state are set up for success as they engage and enter into the STEM fields, We can play a key role in fostering mentor-mentee relationships by building up our network of corporate and girls serving organizations,” said Carolyn Alessi, state Chairwoman of the Million Women Mentors Connecticut Chapter.
“Mentors have a unique power. They can help a young girl or woman solve personal challenges and discover solutions that transform lives for generations to come,”said Girls for Technology Founder, President and CEO Sabrina Tucker-Barrett.
Encouraging more women and girls to pursue careers in the STEM fields can help address the gender gap and make strides toward achieving pay equity.
For every dollar a white man makes, white women earn 77 cents; Black women make 62 cents; and Latina women are paid 55 cents.These lost wages leave women in positions where they are less able to support themselves and their families, save and invest for the future, and spend on goods and services.
In March 2020, Governor Ned Lamont and Lt. Governor Bysiewicz announced that 10 major private-sector companies in Connecticut signed onto the Paradigm for Parity Pledge – a nationwide coalition of businesses committing to achieve gender parity in the leadership of their respective companies over the next 10 years.As of today, a total of 13 Connecticut-based companies have joined the coalition, including Hubbell Incorporated, Otis Worldwide, and AVANGRID.
“Diversity in leadership within a company is good for business but it requires having high performing women in the pipeline who have the support of sponsors and mentors,” said Jewelle Bickford, co-chair of the Paradigm for Parity coalition. “A key component of the Paradigm for Parity coalition’s 5-Point Action Plan is encouraging companies to create a sponsorship program. Without a comprehensive and inclusive approach, mentoring and sponsorship doesn’t happen uniformly – leaving out women and especially women of color. We are proud of our more than 125 coalition companies, including the 13 companies in Connecticut, that have committed to leveling the playing field for women in the corporate world.”
Lt. Governor Bysiewicz is chairwoman of the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, a group tasked with providing a coordinated state response to issues that impact the lives of women, girls, their families, and the State of Connecticut.
Through the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls’ Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity and Workforce Equity, Department of Housing Commissioner SeilaMosquera-Bruno helped to start the Housing and Community Development Leadership Institute, which is specifically designed to promote and advance more women of color into the housing and community development industries.
“As Commissioner of Housing, and a former nonprofit developer, there are very few women who look like me in this industry; both statewide and nationally. I know from my work and experiences, that housing development can provide many career opportunities for women. Through the Housing and Community Development Leadership Institute, we can begin to build those connections with women who currently work in the field, which can manifest into productive mentor-mentee relationships long-term,” said Department of Housing Commissioner Mosquera-Bruno.
With women of color vastly underrepresented in professions that support the field of housing and community development, the leadership institute will help women build the skills needed for a successful career in these fields. This includes learning how to connect HUD and other affordable housing programs with good community planning to bring stability and economic growth to low and moderate income communities.
Lt. Governor Bysiewicz also serves as the honorary chairwoman of the Million Women Mentors Connecticut Chapter.
Director of Communications