Unfriendly workplaces described by female engineers, survey finds

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2nd November 2016 12:17 - Engineering

Unfriendly workplaces described by female engineers, survey finds: According to a new American research study of engineers, women and people of ethnic backgrounds (other than Caucasian) experience unfriendlier work environments than their white male peers.Unfriendly workplaces described by female engineers, survey finds

The survey was conducted by the Society of Women Engineers, in partnership  with the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California's Hastings College of Law.

The researchers stated that they were shocked that approximately 1,000 of the 3,000 engineers in the survey chose to leave optional comments describing their personal experiences of an unfriendly work environment.

Irrespective of the efforts to encourage girls to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes in grade school, and also programmes designed to welcome female college students into the engineering industry and retain them once they are in the workplace, the engineering sector is still behind on gender diversity.

Currently women make up approximately 15 per cent of the entire engineering workforce; however, some 40 per cent of women engineers exit the industry by the time they reach the middle of their career.

Some social psychology studies on implicit bias have revealed that hiring managers of both sexes are most likely to favour male candidates over female candidates for STEM positions irrespective of having identical CVs. The new research looks into how implicit bias creates a workplace culture that could potentially keep women away from the industry.

The research indicated that there are three patterns of bias:

1.   Prove-it-again bias: This pattern discovered that females are twice as likely as men to believe that they have to repeatedly prove themselves to get equal respect and recognition as their colleagues.

2.   Tightrope bias: This pattern relates to how females must work within a small range of acceptable behaviour that is not too feminine and not to masculine to avoid being deemed ‘emotional’ and ‘difficult’.

3.   The maternal wall: This pattern refers to the belief that the ideal employee is always available to work and that mothers are not always

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