Defying gender expectations in STEM – Interview with Ruby Lowe

Empowered women defy gender expectations naturally

Following what you enjoy  and defying gender expectations is key to having more empowered women taking on jobs in STEM.

How many women do you know who studied science? Or work in the energy sector? Or play football?

In the nuclear sector only 20% are women.

So meet: a management consultant in the nuclear industry with a flair for football. We interview her as part our women in STEM series where we speak to inspiring women who defy gender stereotypes with what they do. In our interview Ruby Lowe, who works for Hydrock NMCL, offers an insight into women working in the energy sector.

defying gender expectations in STEM

Ruby Lowe

“I’ve just done what I’ve enjoyed doing the most”, says Ruby. It seems with passion and self-belief, gender shouldn’t come into the equation. Ruby gives us a hopeful prognosis for any woman that wants to follow in her footsteps. She tells 3Plus that now, more than ever before, females are occupying junior positions in her industry. Could this new wave of empowered women, like Ruby, be igniting a change in STEM? Could they be paving the way for a more equal workforce?

Lets hear what Ruby had to say on the subject.

Hi Ruby, could you tell us a bit about what you do?

I am a management consultant in the nuclear industry. I provide specialist technical support to organisations within the nuclear industry. My work relates to all aspects of the nuclear lifecycle. i.e. nuclear new build, nuclear operations, nuclear waste management and decommissioning. We help with both the technical and project manager type activities to support our clients.

What made you want to follow a career path in the sciences?

I always found maths and science the most interesting subjects at school and I always knew I wanted a career in the energy sector. Using non-carbon methods of producing electricity has always been very important to me. I really want to contribute to the development of greener energy initiatives and technology to help the environment.

Have you noticed a lack of females working or studying in sciences?

Actually, in junior technical positions within the parts of the nuclear industry that I work in, I work with a lot of women. These types of industries were previously very heavily male-dominated and therefore sometimes you see that there are more men in senior positions within organisations. However I do feel like everyone is respected equally. I can understand that there is a belief that you might stand out as woman, but I really do think that attitudes are changing. I can’t really comment on other industries, however I have a great support network around me in my company and I’m really lucky.

How do you think we could encourage more girls into the sphere?

I think there is a stigma about women working in science and engineering industries, but there doesn’t need to be. Hopefully, as long as you’re willing to work hard and do a good job, gender should not come into it. I think girls need to realise that you can be anything you want to be. Every job is a possibility! I think that opportunities to take school children to experience different science career environments is very effective. It is especially important to meet women in those types of roles. Then they realise that we’re all just normal people doing a job we enjoy.

Mentoring is a crucial tool to encourage female talent, in every sector. Find out more about 3Plus’ Mentoring Programmes, for both individuals and companies.

Is anyone ever surprised by your field of work? Do you think gender or age can affect the way people are perceived in the workplace or during interviews?

I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone really surprised about my job because of my gender. They’re more surprised about the industry. I really do believe that no matter what age or gender you are, as long as you go into an interview backing yourself, knowing that you are qualified and would do a great job if you got the role, then that’s all you can really do.

So as well as studying sciences, you said you played 11 and 5 aside football. Have you always been aware that you have had to defy gender expectations to follow your passions or has it been a natural process?

It’s been very natural. I played football from a young age and I love it, especially the network of friends I have made in the process. I also just really enjoyed science based subjects at school. That’s why I went down a science/engineering career path. I’ve just done what I’ve enjoyed doing the most, rather than actively trying to defy gender expectations!

What would you advise any females looking to pursue a career in STEM?

Go for it! You can do any job you want to do!

Are you thinking of changing jobs, or even changing industry! 3Plus can help you with our Returner Roll-Up Session, which will let you Learn how to identify your transferable skills.

3Plus, 3Plus online e-Gazine for professional women, Career, Gender Balance, Women in STEM
Hanna Greeman
Hanna Greeman
Email |
Hanna is a languages and logistics specialist. She is currently living in Australia working as a freelance writer.

Leave a Reply

Found that interesting? Learn more about our services
Individual services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
more info
Corporate services
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
more info
Upcoming events
Currently we don't have upcoming events
Download and listen free podcasts
Why all women need a strong LinkedIn profile
Free Download

Data on women on LinkedIn has always been hard to get and analyse, but some new information sheds light on how women use the platform differently to their male colleagues and what those differences mean. You will find out why you need a strong LinkedIn profile.

It has always been difficult to identify women on LinkedIn because it’s not possible to do a search based on gender. Any efforts to track women on LinkedIn specifically, involve complex Boolean strings involving pronouns or searching via women’s clubs, universities and networks. So any analysis has always been more anecdotal around perceptions and personal experience, rather than data based. However research from 2017  using LinkedIn member profile data for members in the United States over the past 12 months. Published on the LinkedIn blog it supports pretty much what we already know about women on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn  is the main professional data base used globally by hiring managers and recruiters, yet women continue to engage less than their male colleagues, putting themselves at a distinct professional disadvantage. Now we have some facts and figures as well as tips and tricks to persuade  you to up your game. All women have to have a strong LinkedIn profile. No ifs and buts.


How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters
Free Download

In this power coaching podcast, we’re going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple times a week by active job seekers and passive candidates.

How can I get noticed by head hunters and recruiters and connect with them?

In this short power coaching podcast Dorothy Dalton shares some tips and tricks to make sure that you are always on the radar of the recruitment and search specialists who can be most helpful to you. With extensive experience in executive search and corporate HR Dorothy has placed, coached and trained thousands of men and women to career success. As a career coach she has a deep understanding of the job search market and what job seekers need to do to position themselves to they are easily found.

As CEO of 3Plus she also has deep experience of the challenges women face in the workplace. Sadly because women tend not to create career strategies they can be vulnerable when it comes to dealing with change. Regular transitions become career crises. In this short session you will learn some simple tips and tricks to make sure you are on the radar of key recruitment specialists in your sector, geography or function.  It’s not rocket science.





One of the most puzzling things about working in executive search is that people and I say this reluctantly particularly women fail to plan ahead. You’ve heard me say before that only 5% of women have a career strategy. This means that they are not prepared for any emergencies until they become a crisis.


Goal setting tips to boost your career
Free Download

The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and the upcoming work week. So how do you get to a place where you look forward to a new week of doing what satisfies you? You’ll have to either learn to love your current role, or make a commitment to pursue your dream job. Use these goal setting tips to help you get to where you want to be.

Some women choose the latter, and to do so you’ll have to set career goals to get where you want to be. So make sure you have a detailed plan on how to land a job that you will tick all the boxes.

The majority of women choose to stay in their own organizations and even then you still need to have goals, not just KPis set by your manager. But even if you do see your career developing within your current business it’s still important to set goals.

Many women struggle with career planning and creating a career strategy which can lead to problems. This makes them vulnerable to and sort of challenge which can moprh into a full blown career crisis. Some simple steps to plan and prepare can help avoid this.

Take a look at these goal setting tips to help boost your career and set you on the right path.

Lewis Carroll  said

If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there.”

Research shows that only about 5% of women create career goals and a career strategy. This can have a negative impact on your career progression. It means you are reactive not proactive and career glitches can morph into full blown crises. It puts women at a clear disadvantage to men.

Learn these simple goal setting tips to boost your career and protect and prepare you for all eventualities. If these goal setting tips make you think that you could use some further help,  contact us immediately.


When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage
Free Download

There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about  female rivalry and competition between women. Some of it makes sense and some of it is confusing. Organizations are pyramids with fewer roles at the top than at the bottom. It is inevitable that at some level, as more and more women are in the talent pipeline, at some point they will be in competition with other women.

Many would say that women aren’t competitive. I would suggest re-framing that. I think it’s more accurate to say they are not as competitive in the workplace as men. We have also been made to feel guilty about being competitive. We need to get over that.  Here are the reasons:

  1. The male nature of corporate culture makes it a disincentive to compete
  2. Women don’t want to compete because  prescribed male goals are not attractive enough for them. “Work 14 hour days, not see my partner or family … get sick.. thanks.. I’ll pass”
  3. Women don’t know how to compete in the workplace. They are new arrivals on the corporate competition scene and lack practise.
  4. Women experience gender blow back when they do compete, from both men and women
  5. Women have been raised to think that competing with other women is not empowering them. As more women enter the talent pipeline that is just nonsense.

Learn some insights from Annabel Kaye, Employment Law Expert about how it’s OK to be competitive and the danger zone when it can turn into sabotage. Understand the benefits of mutual support and how all women can profit from having strong strategic allies, role models and mentors.