Think about your modern life. A lot of the work to get us here was done by woman engineers. For example, wireless communication in our modern world? Attribute that to Ms. Hedy Lamarr; a part-time femme fatale acting alongside Clark Gable, Lamarr devised a method of encrypting signals to prevent enemy spies from listening to sensitive pieces of information. The flare system used by the U.S. military? Invented by Martha Coston. The dishwasher? Josephine Cochrane. Bulletproof vests? They are made of Fibre Kevlar. Who invented that? You guessed it—a woman engineer—Stephanie Louise Kwolek.
Here is where it gets scary: Certain fields of study continue to demonstrate big differences in college enrollment by gender, specifically, computer science, engineering, economics, and physics. In fact, according to Forbes, as recently as 2017, women represented only 16% of Bachelor’s degree recipients in computer and information sciences, 21% of Bachelor’s degree recipients in engineering and engineering technology, 27% of Bachelor’s degree recipients in economics, and 38% of Bachelor’s degree recipients in physical sciences.
The good news? BHG Financial is hard at work upending that trend.
The BHG Financial runner scholarship. While the firm is lucky to have many talented women engineers as part of its workforce—we need a lot more. To further empower girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) who are on their way to do great things, BHG Financial has partnered with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) to sponsor engineering student Celeste Irwin’s fall 2022 semester at Wright State University.
When Irwin, who upholds a 4.0 grade point average, is not putting in hours as an associate software technician at the University of Dayton Research Institute, she is focused on studies in microelectronics education and training—something that is undoubtably valued on a national level.
As part of the BHG Financial Runner Scholarship award, Irwin will receive $5,000 to cover tuition costs along with industry networking and job shadowing opportunities at BHG, interview preparation, and career advice from other women in STEM-focused roles. With plans to use her clinical ultrasound experience and technical education in computer engineering to pursue a career in healthcare product development, Irwin graduates in 2024. Read her story on the SWE blog.
The power play on pay. According to data on what women earn from the U.S. Census Bureau, women in physical scientists’ occupations pull in 21% ($18,870) less pay. Moreover, all STEM and STEM-related fields were shown to pay women a salary that is 16% ($14,540) less than their male counterparts. And the same is true for women in engineering occupations. They are making 13% ($11,760) less.
For this reason, BHG is taking important steps to ensure it is part of the gender pay gap solution and not the problem. As an example, the firm recently underwent a comprehensive, industry-recognized pay analysis across multiple factors, including protected classes and our various families and locations.
Fair Pay Workplace—the only nonprofit certification program to independently verify organizations’ pay equity status using standardization and transparent methods—recently issued BHG its certification in fair pay duties and procedures.
The ERG. From the top down, BHG realizes recruiting more woman engineers can improve the design of new products and solutions to benefit both men and women—not to mention—any company’s bottom line. That is why BHG leadership supports a voluntary, employee-led diversity and inclusion employee resource group (ERG) focused on nurturing the best talent among women in technology.
A voice for women across firm locations, the Women in Tech (WiT) ERG serves many purposes—starting with a culture that supports inclusive perspectives and experiences. More benefits of the WiT ERG include new ways to promote educational growth, career progression, and mentorship opportunities. Members also benefit from deeper connections with BHG leadership, which is nearly half comprised of women, along with networking among peers and company allies.
BHG Financial—one of 125 Best Workplaces for Women™ according to Fortune Magazine and Great Places To Work®, is proud to work with a diverse group of women in STEM, to nurture a talent pipeline of woman engineers, and to help rising women STEM students to take the next steps in their education journey.