I suppose if I had just crawled out of a cave and read these study results, I might "be concerned." But I didn't, and am not. Consider this (quoting from Ernesto Reuben):
Studies that seek to answer why there are more men than women in STEM fields typically focus on women's interests and choices. This may be important, but our experiments show that another culprit of this phenomenon is that hiring managers possess an extraordinary level of gender bias ...
What about reading this the other way around? Instead of "focus on women's interest and choices may be important, but ... ," how about women's choices and interests (which, after all, manifest a lot of years prior to any hiring manager involvement) being the primary factor here?
Another point. Concerning this quote:
Despite more than a decade of pressure from government and civil rights groups to balance the ratio, women held only 23% of US jobs focused primarily on skills in science, technology, engineering, and math in 2008,
Why isn't that proof that some things can't be forced?
I'd again urge people to read this, before putting cart before horse:
Another point. If gender bias in hiring were a big factor, then you'd expect women engineers to be head and shoulders better than their male counterparts. But I haven't noticed any such thing. Has anyone else?
If anything, this being 2014 and not 1973, I'd be a lot more concerned that fewer boys than girls are going to college, and in general excelling in academics at all.
It would be most interesting to hear from women engineers on this matter, I think. Just what their own hiring experiences were, first hand.
Survey is one part of story. And observing things happening in real life is another part. Survey may indicate bias. However, in real life, I have not seen it to be true. In contrast, I would say, they get special treatment from most colleagues.
I'm not conviced that a glass ceiling exists for women. All the points you make are true, but in the end, corporations do try to put the right person in the job. If one person works harder and produces good results, that person is more likely to advance. The situation I was in had a higher percentage of men, so that contributed to the number of men that would advance versus women. I also saw that many women at some point no longer wanted to advance. The number of hours that would have to be dedicated to the next level were more than she wanted to put in. Of course, many men also felt this way and would stop advancing. And then there was the peter principle, that people would rise to their level of incompetence.
Thank you for answering my question. Interesting. So, you noticed more of a difference after the hiring process. in your opinion, does the "glass ceiling" exist for women in STEM careers? And if so, what characterizes it and what causes it...are you saying it might be lack of ambition or because women may need more time off or have more familial duties (often called a "second shift") than some of their male counterparts? I have heard from women who worked in corporate environments in the 1970s and onward, that some men treated them differently and used subtle tactics to intimidate or not include the woman, for example, keeping the woman out of the loop even though she may be in a position of authority. (My experience is there can be both "old boy" and "old girl" networks so it works both ways.) Of course, it's better to focus on the work than politics, and engineering profession seems more focused on making a product. Your insights may be most helpful here.
Susan, in my experience, women and men were on an equal footing during the interview process. In the two large companies I worked for, pay was equal for men and women starting out. There was also a push to promote women faster than average, so they actually had an advantage. In the long run, men tended to put in more hours on the average and would tend to do better over a career.
Yes, actually, i've heard people say that the autistic person really has the advantage in tech. Someone who will live at work and not have a social life....that kind of thing. Lack of social skills of course only goes so far. (Getting into management often requires a smooze-factor. You have to be presentable and marketable and sell yourself to get into management in some companies...and / or -- depending on what leadership values -- you have to be able produce a successful product. That's a whole other conversation...).
Thanks Daleste. You alone have probably done a lot for women in STEM, by hiring women. Thank you for that. So, do you feel that if the woman has the skill/know how in electronics, she'll get the job or is just as likely to get the job? The playing field is equal? If anything, women may be considered cheaper than certain male counterparts. Women usually make less, don't they?