Training isn’t all that’s required for women to succeed in STEM fields. That was one of the observations offered at the STEM Solutions Conference organized by U.S. News & World Report. “You have to be a strong scientist, first, then you have to be a strong leader, which is hard for a woman,” said Xiaochun Luo, group vice president and chief science officer for Avon Products. Mentoring helps, as does working for a company that wants women to succeed, she said.

Luo was a member of a panel discussion, “Closing the Management Gender Gap,” that also included Teresa B. Vanhooser, deputy director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and John Calabrese, vice president for global vehicle engineering for General Motors. Panelists agreed that “workplace mentoring of young women with leadership potential” is critical, as is early encouragement of girls to pursue STEM careers.

“You have to work on [girls’] minds in general. You really have to build their confidence,” Luo said.

Read U.S. News & World Report’s complete article about the conference here. Did the panelists get to the heart of the problem? Share your thoughts on GlassCeiling.com.

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