Women in Science: Innovative Girl Power Impacts U.S. Workforce – You Can Too!

By Barbara Bennett

For Women’s History Month, I’d like to celebrate the importance of women in the work force.  In 2009, women accounted for 51 percent of all people employed in management, professional, and related occupations.  In 2007, there were 7.8 million women-owned businesses with receipts totaling $1.2 trillion. Over 140,000 of those businesses had revenues of $1 million or more and over 7,600 had 100 or more employees.  Talk about Girl Power!

We still have progress to make.  Only 3 percent of the 2010 Fortune 500 companies have women CEOs and women make up only 16 percent of the current 112th U.S. Congress.  Yet I think it’s important for us to remember that our career is as much a journey as it is a destination.

During my years in private industry, I didn’t anticipate a future career at EPA.  I realize, however, that the intersection of environmental research, green infrastructure and private markets for technological innovation are all initiatives that draw strength from both private and public sectors; neither one should be doing it alone when leveraging each other’s strengths works to the benefit of all. I am proud to be here as EPA’s Chief Financial Officer and I have found many opportunities speak to private industry about “green” investment.

No matter what career path you have chosen or are considering, I encourage you to bridge the gaps, connect the dots, and reach out to your peers in old or new career paths in search of new knowledge, or existing knowledge that can be applied in new ways.  Go ahead, take a chance, try a new idea….women scientists, and women in all fields, are in such a great position today to pursue new innovations for the benefit of society and the economy.

About the author: Barbara Bennett is the Chief Financial Officer for EPA. Prior to joining the Agency, she served as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Discovery Communications, Inc.

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