Gee, it's Chilly in Here! Why Women Leave Science
By Cocktail Party Physics on July 28, 2011
[Last week we were ecstatic with the news that three girls won the Google science fair. Yes, it was a victory. But there’s still a subtle attitude in science--and other fields, for that matter--that’s driving women out. As Jennifer Ouellette at Cocktail Party Physics observes, it’s called the “chilling effect.”--Mona]
With all the other trouble in the world, why should we care about this? It’s because those climate issues chase many women out of the hard sciences — and indeed, out of any male-dominated community. In March, the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, conducted an NSF-funded study on the retention (or lack thereof) of women in engineering. Nearly half of the women surveyed who left engineering said they did so because of negative working conditions, lack of advancement or low salary, and one in three left because they did not like the workplace climate, their boss or the culture. Only one in four left to spend more time with family — the usual excuse that gets trotted out when folks try to explain away the low numbers of women in such fields.
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