Monday, May 7, 2012

Lack of ladies in science

In this article, Science Has a Girl Problem, and the accompanying video, some alarming statistics are presented regarding the number of women in the scientific workforce.  According to the article, less than 25% of jobs in scientific careers such as research and engineering are filled by women.  What is to blame for this gender gap?  According to one earth-shattering quote from the article "In the classroom setting, a lot of the people who raise their hands are boys."   Really, Money?  This is the best you can offer in terms of explaining the gap in positions and pay? 

Here is my attempt at an explanation.  Perhaps part of the issue is raising families.  Many careers in science and technology require education and experience far beyond a Bachelor's degree, and long work hours and travel are expected.  For many women who choose to balance a career with having children, high-ranking careers in science and technology limit time with their family and make it difficult to be both a mother and an employee.  Perhaps if the American way of thinking about work were to change, and it became acceptable to put family before work even in high level positions, more women would be prone to pursue these careers.  Maybe it is me speaking as a mother when I say this, but I would much rather have more time with my kids than a larger paycheck.

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