Men are from Science, Women are from Fashion and Style

BlogHer Original Post

The New York Times did it again. Yep. Put an article about women in engineering and science in the Fashion and Style section of the news. In Diversity Isn’t Rocket Science, Is It?, we learn

Back in the bad old days, the workplace was a battleground, where sexist jokes and assumptions were the norm.

Women were shut off from promotion by an old boys’ network that favored its own. They went to meetings and were often the only women in the room.

All that has changed in the last three decades, except where it has not. In the worlds of science, engineering and technology, it seems, the past is still very much present.

“It’s almost a time warp,” said Sylvia Ann Hewlett, the founder of the Center for Work-Life Policy, a nonprofit organization that studies women and work. “All the predatory and demeaning and discriminatory stuff that went on in workplaces 20, 30 years ago is alive and well in these professions.”

I like and read the NYTimes, but this fashion and style thing is getting really annoying.

Maybe the reason the men in science, engineering and technology in the work place aren't getting the gender-bias message is that these articles are appearing in the WRONG SECTION of the newspaper. Like the previously reported incident, New York Times to Geek Girls. Get thee to the Fashion and Style Pages!, this article is not in the technology or the business section of the newspaper where men would be likely to see it. In a section where men might read, ponder, and even have a thought like, that's not right and it should change if they were given the information. I am willing to give the men of science, engineering and technology the benefit of the doubt by assuming that if they were constantly exposed to this sad state of affairs on a daily basis, the time warp they are in might bend and break. But they are not going to get the message if it isn't the the APPROPRIATE section of the news.

The article goes on to to describe a study by the Center for Work-Life Policy, which will be published in the Harvard Business Review in June.

The study was conceived in response to the highly criticized assertion three years ago, by the then-president of Harvard, that women were not well represented in the science because they lacked what it took to excel there.

The purpose of the work-life center’s survey was to measure the size of the gender gap and to decipher why women leave the science, engineering and technology professions in disproportionate numbers.

The problem isn’t that women aren’t making strides in education in the hard sciences. According to a National Science Foundation report in 2006, 46 percent of Ph.D. degrees in the biological sciences are awarded to women (compared with 31 percent two decades ago); 31 percent of the Ph.D. degrees in chemistry go to women, compared with 18 percent 20 years ago.

I wonder how many other studies that are published in the Harvard Business Review get a mention in the NYT fashion and style pages?

Elisa at Worker Bees Blog said in NY Times puts a women in tech story in the Fashion section...again,

The article is about some hard facts about women in technology, the stats on how they fare from college onwards, and some of the factors that might explain their declining numbers. Yes, "work-life balance" is a part of what is discussed, and yes, most discussions about work-life balance are immediately marginalized (because I guess we all know men don't actually care about that stuff, is that the implication?) But a lot of the discussion is about honest-to-God sexism that still remains in tech culture.

Jen at Can't Fight City Hall said in Find the Fashion & Style in this article,

I’m thinking that a story that has no mention of fashion or style, but plenty of mentions of women ’s strides in education and the work place, diversity, science, technology, and how some men continue their quests of stupidity and callousness should be in a different section of the newspaper. What about the U.S. section? This story concerns American women at work. What about the business section? This story mentions what several businesses are doing to level the playing field for their female employees. What about the Science, Education, or Technology sections?

I think the placement of this article proves the research done by the story’s subjects: Women in the sciences and technology aren’t taken seriously.

In So the Times sees it as a "women's issue," like shoes and handbags?, Laura at rare pattern said,

The article itself is quite provocative....which makes one wonder why the New York Times editors felt they had to stick the article in the fashion section and not in the news section or technology or even business section.

Maybe they thought only women would -- or should -- be interested.

Right, don't put it where it would earn the attention of any men–only women care about this gender discrimination stuff.

This year we have a woman running for President. Not exactly the same issue as whether or not women are treated equally in science and technology, but definitely pertinent. Each time Hillary refuses to quit, continues to fight, (acts like a male candidate in other words) she is vilified. Consider this article about a Yale study: Can an angry woman get ahead? Status conferral, gender, and expression of emotion in the workplace. The abstract states:

Three studies examined the relationships among anger, gender, and status conferral. As in prior research, men who expressed anger in a professional context were conferred higher status than men who expressed sadness. However, both male and female evaluators conferred lower status on angry female professionals than on angry male professionals. This was the case regardless of the actual occupational rank of the target, such that both a female trainee and a female CEO were given lower status if they expressed anger than if they did not. Whereas women's emotional reactions were attributed to internal characteristics (e.g., "she is an angry person,""she is out of control"), men's emotional reactions were attributed to external circumstances. Providing an external attribution for the target person's anger eliminated the gender bias.

At Rebecca's Pocket, in the article Women are socially rewarded at work for being nice; punished for being angry or for negotiating, Rebecca points out,

There are so many ways to go with this - from work in general, to the current presidential campaign, to the gender disparity in salaries, and the dearth of female CEOs (and speakers at conferences).

The NY Times article brought up some heartfelt memories about working as a software developer for Elze in An article that dredged up some memories. She describes working in a team where she was never given any work to do, and concludes

I don't know if this was just a weird case of a boss who's clueless about management, but I suspect he would have treated me differently if I had been a guy. When some new guys joined the team after me, he integrated them right away, giving them work to do. But he never gave me a chance to begin with, as if he simply could not imagine me being on the team.

Come on, New York Times, wake up and start reporting on women's issues in a section of the news that doesn't make you look like the most clueless of a calcified patriarchy.

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