Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Marla Ahlgrimm Encourages Women to Break Barriers

Marla Ahlgrimm
Marla Ahlgrimm started her career as a pharmacist back in the 1970s. Then, it was definitely a male-dominated industry. It took years of hard work and unwavering persistence, but Ahlgrimm fought her way through each barrier with grace and poise. Despite a closing gap, there is still a great deal of gender inequality in the workplace, especially in STEM fields, including medicine and technology. The now-retired women’s health expert continues to encourage women to break barriers, but says there are many challenges that face the fairer sex.

Q: Why other fewer women than men in the tech industry?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There are potentially many reasons for this. I suspect that one is that it takes an advanced degree and lots of experience to be successful in things like computer programming and hardware design. Since women often choose to start a family and take time out of school or work to do so, they may feel as though they cannot dedicate the resource of time to pursuing a profession in IT.

Q: What are some common stereotypes in male-dominated workplace cultures?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Men can sometimes feel threatened by anything that changes what they perceive to be normal. They may look at women as being a “caring mother” or not strong enough to do the job that must be done.

Q: How do men react to women climbing the corporate ladder in male-dominated industries?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Fortunately, many are extremely accepting and hold no gender bias toward women. However, it is not uncommon for men, especially those in high-power positions, to emphasize the accepted cultural norm of standoffish masculinity, which only perpetuates workplace turmoil.

Q: Are women still fighting for equal pay?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Absolutely, although it should be noted that delayed entry into the workforce and long employment gaps may contribute.