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Women Breaking Barriers: Career Advice from Leading Women in Business, Technology, and Beyond

March is Women’s History Month—a time to reflect on the contributions of women in all fields. For centuries, women’s achievements in science, art, athletics, and other areas often went unrecognized or were attributed to their male contemporaries. There’s one area that highlights how much progress has been made and how much further we have to go: the experiences of female leaders in traditionally male-dominated professions.

Women have always been an important part of the workforce. But there has been a significant shift – arguably a revolution – in the range of employment options that are now open to women, and in the critical positions women now occupy in many fields. In certain areas, like the legal and medical professions, women have made obvious strides, and these professions no longer fit the U.S. Department of Labor’s formal definition of “nontraditional occupations for women.”

There are also large sectors of the economy, including technology and management, which may be perceived as less open to women even though women have slowly but surely gained a solid foothold in these sectors. And there continue to be particular areas of employment – STEM fields, for example – that are the focus of policy initiatives aimed at addressing existing inequalities, and actively encouraging women to consider educational and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

As part of’s commitment to providing practical career advice, investigative reporting on educational trends, and detailed information about online degree programs, we have created a section of features about women across a broad spectrum of careers and professions. Each story includes insights and guidance from leading women in the field. In addition, the section provides full interviews with these professionals wherein they describe their own experiences, challenges for women entering the profession, and opportunities for women who are interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity, data science, engineering, computer programming, management, finance, and more.

Women in AR/VR

Are virtual and augmented reality companies better for women than other tech subfields? Or does the nascent VR/AR industry—one which sits at the intersection of video games, the Silicon Valley, and Hollywood, three cultures notorious for their misogyny—present the same old barriers? The truth is it’s a little of both.

Women in Artificial Intelligence

Without women’s inventions, would we have modern computers? Mathematician Ada Lovelace was the first person to develop a computer algorithm and imagine an ‘Analytical Engine,’ a device with capabilities beyond simple calculations. Fast forward to today, and meet three women developing new applications of artificial intelligence, along with its inclusivity and capacity for good.

Women in Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Science

Climate scientists Meredith Hastings and Tracey Holloway are founding members of the Earth Science Women’s Network. Along with fellow research scientists Emily Fischer, Erika Marin-Spiotta, and Christine Wiedinmyer, they discuss the challenges faced by women in atmospheric chemistry and climate science, and how those challenges are being addressed and overcome.

Women in Cannabis

The American cannabis industry is at a crossroads: will it follow the established path of concentrating wealth among a few white men—or will diverse leadership lead a small business and community-building revolution?

Women in Cybersecurity

Against a backdrop of acute demand for cybersecurity expertise, a proliferation of cyber attacks, and growing concerns about the safety and security of our digital infrastructures, bringing more women into the field is now a priority.

Women in Data Science and Analytics

If there is one clear message that the experts we spoke to want to convey to women considering a career in data science and analytics, it’s that there are many paths to success. This is particularly true for education and training in the field.

Women in Earth Science and Environmental Engineering

Earth science and environmental engineering are traditionally male-dominated STEM fields in which women are overcoming barriers and making inroads as geoscientists, field researchers, and environmental innovators. Our experts detail the many routes to a rewarding career in this growing and evolving field.

Women in Finance

Finance executives Mary Beth Kreissler, Suzann Cabling, and Marguerite Moyet gently acknowledged historical injustices, but stood firm in their belief that by working hard and refusing to play the victim, they had risen above one of the most entrenched prejudices in the United States: sexism.

Women in Genomics

The exclusion of women from professional recognition in science fields is only a fraction of their struggles. In recent years, there has been an alarming rate of abandonment among female researchers in genomics, indicating deeper problems and attitudes toward hiring and nurturing their talents.

Women in Government

Six Oregon Senators and Representatives shared their experiences in government, their views on the demographics of the legislature, and their advice for women who are interested in running for office.

Women in Public Health and Epidemiology

Six leaders in public health and epidemiology share their stories and perspectives on being a woman in the field.

Women in Venture Capital

Despite a clear gender imbalance and mounting evidence of discrimination across the industry, five exceptional women have risen to prominence in venture capital through their hard work and ability to pinpoint promising ventures at their highest risk points.

Women in Video Gaming

While the lack of diversity in the gaming workforce and rampant sexism in gaming communities remain problems, the indomitable spirits of seven exceptional women in the business exemplify what’s right with the industry; their admirable persistence transcends stereotypes and doubt, and they are celebrated here as role models for the next generation of gaming professionals.

Women in Wealth Management

It’s no secret that the wealth management profession is largely “pale, male, and stale.” Women represent 50.8 percent of the U.S. population, yet they comprise a small fraction of financial advisors across the country.