Work for the Navy, Women!

September 10, 2010 at 4:42 pm (Uncategorized)

Today I want to promote the Navy as a viable place for women to achieve success in the STEM fields. Many women face difficulties in these fields and the ease with which we overcome these difficulties in our respective career paths varies from place to place. Although it wasn’t “easy” to find this opportunity, once I started looking for it, it wasn’t long before I found it. I just had to know where to look. My employer is the U.S. government and I have to say, I really think this was the way to go. If I had followed that traditional route, this may not have crossed my radar as a path to follow.

Advancement of women in the STEM fields is a “hot topic” these days for discussion– but I see little tangible progress toward building up the female presence universally in these fields. What is being done is generally through outreach to local schools and colleges, girls scout troops and large festival-type events to the general public. But what about the women already in those fields? What is being done to facilitate their ability to stay in those fields without sacrificing their other ideals, such as getting married, taking care of their children, and spending time doing the equivalent of golf or fantasy football that the men in these fields are able to do?

The Navy has provided some mechanisms that facilitate equality. The leave policies, the security that comes with a federal job– these are universally appealing to men and women alike. Probably for different reasons– I hear the men I work with talking about their golf trips on their day off, while most women (myself included) use the one day off every two weeks to get all our housework done, run some errands and possibly get fifteen minutes between running errands and starting dinner to read a good three to ten pages of a book.

This is stereotypical, sure. But it’s also statistically accurate. Just take a look at Tara Parker-Pope’s recent revelatory book, For Better. This book outlines the statistical probabilities associated with a successful marriage with respect to a wide variety of factors, including work-life balance and equity between spouses in terms of household chores.

Another thing that the Navy and other federal entities provide is access to funds restricted to continuing education or training in their field. I have been taking classes on the government’s dime for the last year, and it’s been such a blessing not to have to deal with coming up with thousands at a time for tuition and books. Now, I have to pay for books, that’s true. But with half.com and amazon.com, this isn’t really a burden. I do get to keep them, after all.

There are other benefits as well, but that’s all for today. Go Navy!

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