February 9, 2024 Perspective

Inspiring Women, STEM and Inclusion

At Acadia, we are united by our diverse perspectives and experiences, and we strive to treat each other equitably and fairly.

February and March feature several recognition days that offer a lens to highlight our support for gender equity and inclusion, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) opportunities, and the significant impact of women in our world.

Although some progress has been made, considerable gender equity challenges persist. Women earn half of all science and engineering bachelor’s degrees and associate degrees. However, they only represent about one-third of the STEM workforce, and their wages are consistently lower than men’s.

More needs to be done, and at Acadia, we continue our commitment to gender inclusion. Through our Women@Work (W@W) employee resource group, we aim to support professional growth and offer support for women at Acadia. By focusing on professional development and networking, W@W helps create an environment where the achievements of women in STEM are recognized and their potential fully realized, underscoring our dedication to fostering gender inclusion in the field.

For Women@Work (W@W), ‘Inspiring Inclusion’ is more than just a theme for International Women’s Day; it’s a commitment to action. Recognizing the challenges that still exist for women and girls in science, we focus on building a supportive network and advocating for professional growth. Our efforts aim to do more than just celebrate the progress within Acadia; they’re about empowering women to advance in their fields and addressing the persistent gender gap in STEM. We understand there’s a long way to go, and through our collective efforts, we strive to contribute meaningfully to making inclusivity a reality in the workplace.

Jennifer Lichtman, MHA, Vice President of Market Access and Patient Services, and W@W Executive Sponsor

The upcoming months bring a series of significant awareness and advocacy opportunities that spotlight the role and achievements of women in STEM, and beyond. These moments offer a chance to reflect on the advancements made towards gender equality, while acknowledging the journey ahead in fostering a more inclusive environment for women and girls in these critical fields.

On February 11, Acadia celebrates the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, established by the United Nations in 2015. This day aims to break down the gender barriers that have historically excluded women and girls from participating fully in science. It’s a call to action to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, to achieve gender equality, and to empower women and girls to excel in STEM fields.

Following this, on March 8, Acadia observes International Women’s Day (IWD), a global celebration with roots tracing back to 1909 in labor movements across North America and Europe. Today, IWD serves as a powerful platform for advocating for accelerated gender parity and celebrating the achievements of women across all spheres of life. This year’s theme (“Inspiring Inclusion”) emphasizes the importance of creating environments where women’s careers in STEM and other fields can flourish and their contributions are duly recognized and celebrated.

We are committed to this community of patients, care partners, and healthcare providers – to the science and medicine that can change their lives, and more than that, to championing the people beyond their disease through resources and actions that matter.

Women’s suffrage envoys bring petitions to U.S. Congress on May 9, 1914

These milestones serve as important reminders of the progress made towards gender equity in STEM and the work that remains to be done. Acadia is proud to support and participate in these global observances, reinforcing our commitment to gender inclusion and the celebration of women’s achievements across all areas of our society.

To succeed, we need not only education, hard work, and the ability to be brave, but also passion and love for what we do. That can spark curiosity, inspire others to follow, and also help and support you.

Dragana Bugarski-Kirola, Vice President of Clinical Development

The journey ahead is long, but with continued effort and unity, we see a future where women’s contributions are fully recognized and their potential entirely unleashed, ensuring a more equitable and innovative world for generations to come.