Nature recently dedicated an entire issue to exploring how we can get more women in science. As an MIT chemistry PhD and former McKinsey partner with 2 decades of experience helping scientific and other clients grow and innovate, I have a slightly different view on this issue. In science as in business, let’s start not with women, but ask, how we can grow empathetic and effective servant leaders who help others grow, including children? If we do that, we’d design different organizations, work environments, and leadership development models which would not only include women (and anyone else who wants/needs to be whole) but would also unleash innovation. Here is why and how.
1) how can we practice science with a human face?
2) how can we grow tenured professors and academic leaders who are both scientifically brilliant and empathetic?
3) how can we support people in science and elsewhere (women and men) who care for children (elderly parents, community, etc) as they progress in their careers so they can be whole leaders at 55 rather than burned out and cynical at 45?
Then, we would build a currency of empathy in academic science and scientific companies. The talented women (and men) who lean into humanity would stay.