Saturday, 17 May 2008

"Old boys network" still in science, engineering, and technology?

Via Clo Willaerts on the Girly Geekdom Blog,

The New York Times provides a preview of an upcoming Harvard Business Review article about a study conducted by the Center for Work-Life Policy:

An exodus occurs around age 35 to 40. Fifty-two percent drop out, the report warned, with some leaving for “softer” jobs in the sciences human resources rather than lab bench work, for instance, and others for different work entirely. That is twice the rate of men in the SET industries, and higher than the attrition rate of women in law or investment banking.

The reasons pinpointed in the report are many, but they all have their roots in what the authors describe as a pervasive macho culture.

Ironically, the New York Times publishes this in their Fashion and Style section...
The 147-page report (which was sponsored by Alcoa, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Pfizer and Cisco) is filled with tales of sexual harassment (63 percent of women say they experienced harassment on the job); and dismissive attitudes of male colleagues (53 percent said in order to succeed in their careers they had to “act like a man”); and a lack of mentors (51 percent of engineers say they lack one); and hours that suit men with wives at home but not working mothers (41 percent of technology workers says they need to be available “24/7”).
What I'm curious about are the tales of the 48% that do stay, especially those that are thriving.

What are the lessons to be learned from the best current experiences that go beyond just removing the factors that cause women to leave?

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