A report released in June from the Asia Foundation shows how women in STEMM networks, such as Homeward Bound, play an important role in overcoming barriers and advancing opportunities for women and girls by creating and sustain a space for sharing, support, and mentorship.
Homeward Bound CEO Fabian Dattner participated in the report, Accelerating Women’s Advancement in STEM: Emerging Lessons on Network Strategies and Approaches in Asia, speaking about the importance of visibility for women in STEMM.
“Men network more effectively to advance their careers and influence…the issue of visibility very rarely causes men grief – they accept, understand it, it goes with the [territory], it’s not seen as ego,” she said.
Visibility is a cornerstone of the Homeward Bound initiative.
Women tend not to feel as comfortable making themselves visible for networking and career advancement. Given the importance of visibility for leadership and advancement, the Homeward Bound program helps women develop skills for “how to be visible without vanity.” Women in the network are asked to write their own leadership narrative, and in the spirit of collaboration, make it available for peer review and community feedback. As part of this process, each woman in the network receives coaching to address any fears associated with visibility.
The report showcases the diversity of networks working to advance women’s participation and leadership in STEM in Southeast and East Asia, examining 70 organisations and the successful – and often innovative – strategies these networks are using to achieve their missions, and highlights emerging lessons for developing, funding, and strengthening these networks.
It also captures emerging lessons for funding and fortifying networks in ways that help more women enter and succeed in STEM careers in Asia and that advance STEM equity. In addition, the research provides insights relating to global trends on workforce development; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategies; talent recruitment/retention practices, physical and psychological safety; and mentoring and leadership development.
Recommendations for networks, private sector companies, and government in strengthening their work in support of women’s STEM leadership are included. This includes a commitment to a “network of networks” for women in STEM.