Social dynamics and "culture fit" are a key reason why female engineers tend to leave the profession sooner than men, according to a new study released by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); the University of California, Irvine; the University of Michigan, and McGill University.
"It turns out gender makes a big difference," says MIT professor Susan Silbey. "It's a cultural phenomenon."
The research involved having more than 40 undergraduate engineering students keep bi-monthly diaries, providing the study with more than 3,000 entries to analyze.
The study found, especially in the case of internships, summer work, and team-building exercises, women feel excluded and marginalized with their male counterparts receiving better opportunities. The researchers say this cultural phenomenon is why women account for 20% of engineering degrees awarded, but make up only 13% of the engineering workforce.
"For many women, their first encounter with collaboration is to be treated in gender-stereotypical ways," the report notes.
In 2014, a GigaOm study of 12 large technology companies found they were about 68% male on average.
From Network World
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