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The Next Move for Women in Business Analytics

15 Jan

Audrey Low MSBA ’19 Candidate


The workplace has been changing over time. This generational change—along with evolving job markets—has brought new faces to different fields, most noticeably in analytics jobs.

The relatively recent push for women to join historically male-dominated STEM fields has broken down walls in classrooms, offices and programming forums across the world. Efforts to continue carving out a space for women in a historically male-dominant field now intersect the technical arena at the cross-section between data and business.

The current opportunity and upward trajectory for women in analytics in many ways parallels the evolution of pharmacy as a field. Pharmacy was originally a male-dominated profession along with much of the higher medical field. However, the fulfilling nature of the work, the stability of the work over time, and the rise of equal pay for both men and women in the field created the ideal professional environment for women.

Over time, female pharmacists became more common until, eventually, women became the face of pharmacy. Whereas there are two male doctors for every one female doctor currently practicing in the U.S.,1 the workforce of pharmacists is 57% women.2

In the modern era, analytics offers many similarly appealing characteristics to those that pharmacy historically has offered to women: the flexibility to work from home, fulfillment from the work done, and an arena where women and men can compete on an even playing field. And similar to the workforce shift that occurred in pharmacy, women now make up 55.4% of the current workforce in the field of operations research and data analysis.3

The new president of William and Mary, Dr. Katherine Rowe, highlights the range of domains technology—and data analytics specifically—can reach today, including healthcare, cybersecurity, nonprofits and commercial fields. In every field, Dr. Rowe argues, “technology is both the challenge and the opportunity and will change the way we work.” And this change is coming right at the moment when women are taking bigger roles in the workplace.

The nature of analytics as a profession appeals to a wide range of the population, including those with both strongly technical and qualitative aptitudes. The power of this field to bring new perspectives into a previously male-dominated arena can break down barriers and glass ceilings with women at the forefront.

Audrey Low is a candidate in the MSBA program at William & Mary. She is a marketing & business intelligence analyst at DMD - Connecting Healthcare.