Off Ramps and On Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success

woman scientist with men peering at herToday’s NY Times has an article about the continuing lack of women in science and technology, based on a study by the Center for Work-Life Policy, a nonprofit organization that studies women and work, to be published in the Harvard Business Review in June.  The purpose of the study was “to measure the size of the gender gap and to decipher why women leave the science, engineering and technology professions in disproportionate numbers.”

It seems that more women are getting degrees in the fields in question — engineering, the hard sciences, the life sciences.  And they get good early job evaluations, so the problem isn’t quality.  And men do leave these professions — but proportionately more women do.  The reasons, they say, are varied, but can be subsumed under “pervasive macho culture.”  They don’t like the culture; they suffer harrasment; they are out of the loop; they don’t get mentored.

One story is telling: a woman named Josephine who was nicknamed “Finn” found it to her advantage to send email as Finn.  She got information that “Josephine” didn’t. Her advice: “Get yourself a Finn.”  (Apologies to my Finnish friends — you’re not the kind of Finn that she meant.)

The full report is a book available via Amazon et al: Off Ramps and On Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success (Harvard Business School Press).

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