It’s a fact that women leave science and tech jobs in disproportionate numbers, and the gender gap is alive and well in both fields. Until now, the reasons for the under-representation and high turnover haven’t been documented through a thorough research study.
Well, it’s time to reveal the real reasons behind the gender gap in the science and tech fields. Thanks to a study conducted by the Center for Work-Life Policy which will be published in the Harvard Business Review in June, there are hard numbers to support the secrets behind the gender gap in these industries.
Unlike the suspicions of a former Harvard President who three years ago asserted that women are under-represented in the science and tech fields because they lack what it takes to excel in those fields (note, those comments prompted this study), the reasons behind the gender gap are quite disturbing.
Here’s what the study of 2,493 people (1,000 men and 1,493 women) working in the science and tech fields found:
- A pervasive macho culture wherein men are hostile to female colleagues (53% of women said in order to succeed in their careers, they were required to "act like a man")
- Sexual harassment (63% of women have experienced sexual harassment on the job)
- Lack of mentors (51% of engineers, for example, said they did not have mentors)
- Hours that suit men with wives at home but not working mothers (41% of technology workers said they have to be available 24/7, which is nearly impossible with a family at home)
These are startling and disappointing statistics. We’ll have to wait and see if businesses change their cultures to reduce the gender gap in the science and tech fields in the future. Let’s hope so!