What percentage of women fought the barriers and achieved a role in the stem field?
Women only take up about 28% of workers in the STEM field. To this day the majority of women claim to experience a lack of confidence and strong intimidation at work, stemming from the need to fight societal assumptions over gender roles. This gender gap is often seen in high-paying, competitive jobs such as computer science and engineering. “Women are systematically tracked away from science and math throughout their education, limiting their access, preparation, and opportunities to go into these fields as adults.” says the American Association of University Women (AAUW). In other words, for many women, the STEM field isn’t even considered a plausible career, as the idea of it being predominantly for men is implemented at such a young age. Neuroelectrics’ CEO, Ana Maiques, has stated that “women need to be engaged with technology, science, and coding at an earlier age in school. That’ll gradually bring more prepared women into the market.” Another major component of this issue is the strong lack of female role models in science for girls to look up to and learn from.
A brighter note.
In recent years we have begun to see a stronger commitment to achieving a gender balance from numerous companies and organizations that are determined to change the long-standing situation for women in STEM. An example of this is Neuroelectrics, a high-tech company pioneering a new therapeutic platform to treat and cure neurological disorders, but most importantly, created by a Woman. Ana Maiques is the CEO and Co-founder of Neuroelectrics, a member of the European Innovation Council Advisory Board, and a Co-founder of the Spanish tech platform EsTech. Ana received the EU Prize for Women Innovators from the European Commission 3 years in a row and was named one of the most inspiring women on the Inspiring Fifty list in Europe. In 2022, she won the Builders and Innovators award from Goldman Sachs as she continues breaking the barriers of science and technology in an impactful way with Business Ethics.
Aside from her talent in advancing the world of neurological disorders, she has always been a passionate advocate for increasing the visibility of women in STEM. In most conferences, panel discussions, and awards ceremonies she attends, she finds herself surrounded by male leaders. For this reason, she makes an effort to highlight the contributions of women in this field through her company.
Neuroelectrics’ women in STEM
There are a great number of incredibly intelligent women who take up some of the top positions at Neuroelectrics.
Ilaria Cesini, for example, is a mechanical engineer with a Ph.D. in Biorobotics, and the only woman in her department at the company. She is involved in the design of any parts of the products that come in close contact with the user. Her procedure involves a user-centered approach, accounting for safety, durability, esthetics, simplicity of use, and comfort. Ilaria analyzes the user needs and product requirements, to then convert them into design specifications. She starts by conceptualizing the designs and transfers them to a 3D model to then make prototypes through 3D printing techniques.
Another influential example is Maria Chiara Biagi, a Research Engineer with a Ph.D. in Physics, specializing in advanced technology for life science. She has been working on healthcare devices for over 8 years on both the experimental and computational sides. She is currently developing complex pipelines for neuroimaging processing and optimization algorithms to improve the treatment of different neuropathologies via electrical stimulation (tCS) at Neuroelectrics.
Not to mention that Research Director, Roser Sanchez-Todo is currently leading a transdisciplinary team of researchers (physicists, mathematicians, and engineers) for the Neurotwin project, a plan to transform science into clinical solutions based on personalized digital models of patients’ brains. Roser has always been fascinated by neuroscience and pursued her career to now be head of her department. With a background in biomedical engineering specializing in computational neuroscience, she is working to obtain a doctorate at the UPF on the topic “Digital twins for model-based non-invasive brain stimulation in Alzheimer’s”. Working around Ana Maiques and other remarkable women at the company has influenced her to push beyond office life and take on opportunities such as presenting her work at one of the top museums in Barcelona, the CCCB.
“Our company makes a strong effort towards giving exposure to the works of our employees by providing them with the necessary tools to present their work to the world,” says Chief Operating Officer, Yolanda Casas, who holds a bachelor in physics, a bachelor in electronics, and an MBA from INSEAD.
Neuroelectrics with 41% of women in the company, most of which have a background in Biomedical Engineering, highlights the importance of attracting female talent, as they believe it is a crucial aspect of a company’s growth and a competitive element in fast-growing companies in the STEM field.