I just read an interesting article in the New York Times Magazine (16 March 2014) called "A Tale of Two Valleys", by CS grad student Yiren Lu. Here's a link to the on-line version, called Silicon Valley's Youth Problem. The author mentions lots of start-ups in Silicon Valley and San Francisco (which seems to have replaced Silicon Valley as the "cool" place to work), and there seem to be lots of female engineers and programmers working alongside the males. Maybe this is just my impression of the (female) author's impression rather than a formal study, but I found this interesting.
The article is primarily about how young people are drawn to exciting new start-ups, while older engineers find that those "exciting new start-ups" are doing rather meaningless things. So you have many old companies that cannot attract new talent because their products seem boring to young people, and start-ups that can't attract "grown-ups" who can make products work robustly. The article also mentions that in many of these new start-ups, a lot of people know each other from the elite schools they got their degrees from, so there appears to be a certain amount of hiring people you already know rather than finding people who actually meet the company's needs.
The study seemed to invent some bogus hiring scheme, where applicants are made to add numbers, or other such foolishness. That's not how hiring works in the real world. Why not instead go to hiring managers, ask to see their list of applicants, and see what made them decide one way or another?
Set up some bogus test method, and you'll get the results you were after. Every time.
In my experience, female candidates, if anything, are given priority. It's just that there aren't many of them. But HR departments love to brag about "diversity," so what tends to happen is that any woman applicant who is at all qualified does get hired.
It's strange that it's taking so long to get beyond the 1973-era ERA rhetoric. Why not write a piece that explains why veterinary schools are now favoring female students 8 times out of 10, for example. Even medical schools are predominantly women these days. Why aren't the male applicants being accepted? Gender bias? I doubt it.
By the way, type "gender bias in stem hiring" in your search engine, and the press seems all atwitter about this new "proof." Really, they should go to universities and ask why more women than men are being accepted these days, and gauge the responses.
There may be hiring managers who favor male over female. There could be the % of female candidates is far less than the % of male candidates.
In the past, female was perceived less mathematically and scientifically competence that include how some women see themselves. It's unfortunate. They ended up lossing interest in mathematics and science that put them into a not so good position. However, there seems to be changes in the past few years. More young women are going into computer science. As electronic products and cloud services move towards better user experience. Women seem to play a better role. Their understanding of programming languages has put them into the same level playing field as the counterpart. I believe we will see a further shift in the near future.
The more women do a better today; the more women will benefit tomorrow. Stay competence! This applies to all young engineers.
The ploy in this study is a standard in social psychology research. The task that the candidates are supposed to be differentiated on is intentionally meaningless and their backgrounds are disguised to be similar, leaving only appearance/gender as the statistically significant difference among the candidates. If hiring managers were not biased by gender, then men and women should be chosen evenly. However, men were twice as likely to be chosen as women, indicating that there is a significant gender bias in hiring. Without more access to the description of the actual study, I can't personally judge if there may have been other biases at work, but the design of the study in general is valid.
Susan, you should read the article. In my experience, I disagree with the outcome of the study. When I was in school, (okay, it was the stone age), there was only one woman in the EE dept. By the time I was a senior, there were a few women freshmen. It was a male dominated degree program. Years later, when I was the hiring manager, there were many women applicants. I don't know if the mix in school changed or if HR made it seem that way. I hired about as many women as men. I guess a big difference could be the culture of the company. I am surprised that the study found that women hiring managers had the same bias towards men. That definately goes against my experience.