Archive for December 27, 2011

A data-based explanation as to why there are so few women in technology fields

I’m not sure that I follow the whole argument (e.g., can we extrapolate from offensive behavior at conferences to the macro-level movement of women away from IT?), but I find the detail and analysis here quite interesting. The problem of mid-career drop-out is real, and we need to figure out ways of coming back into the workforce.

Though not the only reason, the numbers show that in software development specifically, sexist and overtly offensive behavior (both online and off) is one of two key factors as to why women are leaving technical fields as reported by ABC News. This article quotes Laura Sherbin, director at the Center for Work-Life Policy, who published a study in the Harvard Business Review titled “Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology”. Laura goes on to explain the primary reasons women leave STEM fields…

“The top two reasons why women leave are the hostile macho cultures — the hard hat culture of engineering, the geek culture of technology or the lab culture of science … and extreme work pressures”

Sherbin also highlights just how critical and surprising the numbers are, even to researchers.

“The dropping out was a surprise to us. We knew anecdotally that women were leaving these careers. We didn’t expect to see the number 52 percent.”

via Stats, data, and answers, as to why there are so few women in technology fields.-Rachel’s Blog.

December 27, 2011 at 9:00 am 1 comment


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