Gender Equality in STEM: Always a Common Goal

By Marie B. Deschamps, Executive Director of Human Capital and Corporate Affairs, LGS, an IBM Company

By December 8, 2023

As a director and manager within LGS, I genuinely value gender parity. Despite being predominantly male, the IT industry has seen a growing number of women over the years, and this trend extends the sector of aerospace and defense (A&D). Recently, my colleagues at LGS and IBM conducted a joint study on improving the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the A&D industry. I am pleased to share this study, as I am convinced that through such means, along with concrete actions, we can bridge this gap and collaborate more in an inclusive and diverse environment.

Furthermore, did you know that achieving sustainable development requires both gender equality and innovation? This is confirmed by the United Nations through its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.


A Common Goal

Our recent joint study specifically focused on the aerospace and defense industry. IBM , LGS, IVADO and Makila-AI collaborated once again to analyze the inclusion of women in the aerospace and defense industry, a specific domain within STEM.

In this sector, sustainable innovation and its adoption are key drivers of competitive advantage in the global market. It’s worth noting a compelling finding from the American Sociological Review. The study discovered that companies with the highest percentage of gender diversity experience higher sales revenue, attracting 3% increases. Notably, companies that actively promote a diverse workforce are 70% more likely to capture a new market audience. These correlations underscore the business case for diversity, indicating that fostering diversity is not just a moral obligation but a strategic move for sustained growth in enterprises across all industries related to STEM.

Part 1 of my colleagues’ research describes the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through a case study on invention and patenting at IBM. Part 2 demonstrates that women continue to be underrepresented in innovation and patent filing in the A&D industry, despite recent efforts to improve gender parity.

Furthermore, one of the barriers identified by the study is the lack of female role models, along with historical discrimination in STEM fields contributing to the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions.


Measures to Narrow the Gaps

According to the study, recent diversity and inclusion reports from these companies emphasize the need to challenge stereotypes and biases and invest in inclusive leadership and unconscious bias training.

Numerous initiatives are underway and are essential for a promising future in gender equality. These include implementing inclusive hiring practices, establishing employee resource groups, collaborating with universities, promoting female role models, ensuring women’s participation in key innovation areas, and supporting women’s education in science, technology, and engineering (STEM).

While progress has been made, there is still work to be done. Efforts to include women in STEM should start from a young age, with mentorship programs and education opportunities accessible to all age groups. Companies like LGS and IBM are actively promoting STEM and bridging the gap between men and women through educational programs such as STEM For Girls, P-TECH®, IBM SkillsBuild. We also partner with cybersecurity leadership centers and universities to further promote STEM among women.

Indeed, providing opportunities for women in STEM should be part of the daily work culture of all companies.


Towards an Inclusive Future in Patents and Innovation

In conclusion, I urge you to remember that we must continue to seize all opportunities and, most importantly, invest to break down any remaining barriers. To capitalize on the growth opportunities of tomorrow through sustained innovation, every company must focus on building diverse teams capable of delivering innovative products and services that meet market needs.


To learn more

I invite you to consult Part 2 of the research and explore various articles on the subject to gain further insights:

Marie B. Deschamps, Directrice exécutive, Capital humain et Affaires corporatives