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Given the current rate of change, it’ll take another 217 years before countries around the world achieve gender parity. We’re not willing to wait that long.

That startling statistic comes from the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, which benchmarks 144 countries on gender parity in four major categories and examines the dynamics of gender gaps across industry talent pools and occupations.

Related: Read the Global Gender Gap Report
Related: Women leaders are key to gender equality in the workplace

The report showed that progress is happening—slowly—and the gender gap persists. We shouldn’t be satisfied to leave it there. After all, March is Women’s History Month. As we close out this month-long celebration of the trailblazers and pioneers of the past, it’s time to look ahead, roll up our sleeves, and prepare for the work that’s still to come.

Related: Five ways top companies are working to close the gender gap
Related: The status quo is an enormous waste of human potential


How to close the workplace gender gap.

To help map the path forward and accelerate progress, we invited a few local women working in STEAM-related fields—that is, fields related to science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math—to Bak USA to participate in our first-ever panel discussion. The topic? How to close the workplace gender gap.

Moderated by Eva Bak, the vice president of our people team, and Samantha Pierce, our public relations specialist, the panel included these amazing women:

  • Ciara Rayshall, a Buffalo-based entrepreneur and the founder of The Crafty Jawn, a mobile app that connects women with their faith, their families, and each other.
  • Lena Levine, the founder and creative director at Lena Levine Studio, a graphic and web design company in Buffalo, and the founder of the Buffalo chapter of Girl Develop It, a national nonprofit that provides affordable programs for adult women interested in learning web and software development in a judgment-free environment.
  • Maiko Tanaka, executive director of the Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Art Center, a Buffalo organization that provides hands-on educational programming in the media arts. Tanaka also oversees TechARTS for Girls, a community action project that enables girls from Buffalo and Erie County to receive an affordable, hands-on education in computers, technology, and media literacy.

Their discussion touched on topics like representation, role models, and what it means to believe in yourself. You can watch their discussion, which we’ve divided into three parts, below.