Surprise Half of Women in STEM Experience Gender Discrimination

first_imgStay on target NASA Invites U.S. Students to Name Mars 2020 RoverLego’s New Boost Coding Kits Let You Build and Control R2-D2 Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.center_img Employment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields has grown nearly 80 percent since 1990—thanks in part to burgeoning female interest in joining the STEM workforce.But for many of those women, the office is a hostile environment, where they experience discrimination and harassment more frequently than male colleagues.According to a new study published by the Pew Research Center, most STEM-based women who hold a postgraduate degree, work in male-dominated departments, or have a career in computers say they have been targeted as a result of their gender.“The challenges women in STEM face in the workplace echo those of all working women,” researchers Cary Funk and Kim Parker wrote in a report, released the day after a former Google engineer sued the search giant for victimizing white conservative men.Last summer (before the Harvey Weinstein scandal unfolded), Pew surveyed more than 4,900 U.S. workers, nearly half of whom are in STEM positions—i.e. life sciences, physical and Earth sciences, engineering and architecture, and computer, math, and health-related occupations.What the agency found is the unsurprising yet poignant fact that 19 percent of men claim they’ve experienced gender discrimination, versus 50 percent of women (compared to 41 percent of ladies in non-STEM jobs).That applies to all eight forms of workplace bigotry: earning less money, being treated as if incompetent, experiencing repeated slights, receiving less support from senior management, and feeling isolated, as well as being passed over for important assignments, turned down for a job, or denied a promotion.“People automatically assume I am the secretary, or in a less technical role because I am female,” one respondent—a white, 36-year-old technical consultant—said. “This makes it difficult for me to build a technical network to get my work done. People will call on my male co-workers, but not call on me.”Philadelphia-based writers Martin Schneider and Nicole Hallberg publicly proved that point in March, when the pair switched email signatures for a week.“I had one of the easiest weeks of my professional life,” Hallberg wrote in a blog post. “He… didn’t.”The experiment-cum-viral Twitter sensation, she said, helped Schneider realize “just how bad, and insidious, workplace sexism could be.”Read the Pew Research Center’s full study, “Women and Men in STEM Often at Odds Over Workplace Equity,” online.last_img