Women in STEM Bring Innovation and Range

  • xlogo icon
  • facebook icon
  • linkedin icon
  • email icon

March is Women’s History Month, a perfect time to call out the range of roles women inhabit while they contribute to progress in their fields.

Meet Elizabeth Taylor, a quality assurance manager at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi (TMMMS). Prior to joining Toyota, Taylor was the lone female engineer in a shop filled with hundreds of men. When she left to work for a tire manufacturer, there were a few more women, but not many. “I had a lot of experiences where my colleagues assumed that, because of my youth or gender, I didn’t have any knowledge to bring to the table. That was really frustrating,” she recalls.

To help eliminate these kinds of perceptions for other women entering industries traditionally dominated by men, Taylor and a colleague have worked with local universities on an effort to increase the number of women in their field. Says Taylor, “We’re trying to understand why female engineers are changing their majors after freshman year. We’re also working to place them in co-op or intern positions within Toyota so they can see there’s a place in manufacturing where their voices are valued and respected,” 

Taylor’s own experience underscores Toyota’s welcoming spirit to diverse thought and innovative solutions, no matter the source. “Even though sometimes I’m still the only woman in a room of 20 male engineers,” says Taylor, “I’ve never felt like what I was saying at Toyota didn’t matter.”

Ensuring that women feel heard is in line with Toyota’s overall mission to encourage and support female inclusion in STEM fields and STEM education for girls. Driving Possibilities, Toyota USA Foundations’ initiative for multi-site holistic partnership with school districts in the company’s operating areas, puts STEM at the center of student learning outcomes. It’s estimated that nearly 3.5 million STEM jobs will be available over the next decade. A prepared workforce is critical to the transformative changes coming online every day.

But a rounded life is also critical for women in STEM or any other field. When she’s not working, Taylor can be found spending time with her young children, or tending to her large vegetable garden, bringing those valuable contributions to another, just as essential, table.