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Joining the Fray

I don't know how many of you have read about Sylvia Ann Hewett et al's new report "The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering and Technology", but since it costs $295, I'm pretty sure most of you haven't read the report itself (I know I can't afford to buy it).

The summaries in the Harvard Business Review and the Chronicle provide an overview of the reasons women are leaving science, engineering, and technology careers. The reasons should come as no surprise to FairerScience readers. Indeed we have experienced/heard far too much about macho work environments, feelings of isolation or career stagnation, cultures that encourage risk-taking, and time-intensive positions that compromise family responsibilities.

While I'm delighted that the report analyzes 13 company initiatives that try to combat these "pressures", possibly the most interesting part of the report is the comments that that it has engendered in response to the short Chronicle article about it. The 49 and counting comments are are darn good indicator of where things are and aren't for women in STEM. The variety includes:

I hope that women react to the sexist comments posted in response to this chilling report in one of two ways. Either they pity and ignore these bored, talentless young men who scour the Internet for opportunities for (incredibly unclever) harassment, or they rush toward careers in the sciences out of sheer indignation. I donít expect this level of heroism from anyone, but I certainly applaud it.
I agree with addressing the macho environment, but we must also begin to address the opposite hostile environment as it exists in the social sciences. This is not a one way street- and lack of concern about men entering university/college in social science fields also needs to be addressed with equal fervor.

Go read them or better yet, write your own!