Women like the work, but not the workplace.
A while back I expressed surprise about girls being more effective than boys at a particular programming task. The more I learn, the less I’m surprised.
The problem, it seems, is not the conventional wisdom that girls don’t like math and science, and they just need to be encouraged to be interested in those things. The problem is that while girls and women do like those subjects, they don’t like the behaviors of people who work in those areas.
Debra Perlman, in eWeek a couple weeks ago, writes:
The vast majority of women working in the field of technology enjoy their jobs, finds the “Women in Technology 2007″ report published by WITI (Women in Technology International), a trade association, and Compel, a management consulting and research firm. Of the survey’s nearly 2,000 female respondents, 75 percent said that they would encourage other women to pursue similar interests.
Yet, female tech workers have mixed feelings about their companies’ climates, with only 52 percent believing that their organizations offer a favorable one for women.
So women do like the work, but they don’t like the workplace they see around them. Some of these behaviors are policy decisions. (Follow the link in the article for a couple of examples.)
Some are the result of discrimination, as I previously discussed, and as we saw from a couple of court cases this week. An important point, missed in some of the coverage of the Supreme Court case, is that a jury found salary discrimination did exist at Goodyear, but The Court found the claim was barred by the plain language of the law. The GE Transportation case will not suffer from that defect.
Next week at the Institute we’ll also have some discussions around behavior, which we’ve known since the 2000 employee survey is a problem. Women get ignored, their input is not solicited, and their achievements are not recognized.
That shouldn’t happen either.
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