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Which Way to Lean?

If a woman wants a career in science, technology, engineering, and math, the California Institute of Technology's Frances Arnold says she has to seize it herself.

"Bemoaning your fate is not going to solve the problem," Arnold, an award-winning biochemical engineer, tells NPR. "One has to move forward." While she notes that there may be people who say that women don't perform as well in STEM fields, those naysayers should be ignored as you strive for what you want.

But as NPR's Kelly McEvers reports, some women say that such a 'lean in' approach isn't their style. "I consider myself an introvert," says Nikki Peck, a bioengineering graduate student. "I have a hard time just like talking to people. You know, it's hard for me to get up sort of the initiative to, you know, lean in or just do it."

Peck is taking a year off to work at Calico, a company founded by Google to study longevity, and McEvers says that Peck is worried about working in a field where women get good jobs, but for some reason don't seem to stay in them — possibly because the demands of juggling such high-powered careers and a family are problem still waiting to be solved.