Did You Know?

Newspaper

Did you know that stereotype threat applies to women and entrepreneurship, causing many women either to not even consider starting their own companies or to consider themselves incapable of doing it? Research from SUNY Binghamton found presented three groups of business students with three different sets of “facts” about entrepreneurship. The first group was told that entrepreneurship could be best taught through business education. A second group was told that stereotypical male characteristics such as risk-taking and aggressiveness produce the best entrepreneurs. A third group received a female-biased stereotype, reading that characteristics such as social skills and networking are key for entrepreneurship.

Not surprisingly, when men and women were told that entrepreneurship requires more male characteristics, men were more interested in becoming entrepreneurs, and women were less interested. Women also showed little ambition for entrepreneurism, even after reading the female-stereotype article. Women shared equal entrepreneurial aspirations with men ONLY when the gender-neutral attributes were presented.

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Did you know that some of the world’s top design schools now have more female than male students?  Despite the fact that design is still an arena in which men earn the prominent spots, as “design is expanding into new areas in response to advances in science and technology and social and economic changes,” more women are gravitating to this range of disciplines. “Historically women have thrived on new turf where there are no male custodians and they are free to invent their own ways of working.”  Many, many fields of design intersect with or require knowledge of information technology and computing: how might this trend in design disciplines impact women’s participation in IT? Do you have a multidisciplinary design / information / technology program at your institution?

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Did you know that among women in engineering, it’s a hostile work environment more than family demands that inhibits retention? Researchers studying survey information found that one in three respondents left engineering because they did not like the workplace climate, their boss or the culture; while one in four left engineering to spend more time with family. Nearly half of women who left an engineering career did so because of “negative working conditions, too much travel, lack of advancement or low salary.” Other key findings from the survey:

  • One-third of the women in the survey who did not enter engineering after graduating said it was because of their perceptions of the field as being inflexible, or the workplace culture as being non-supportive of women.
  • Women's decisions to stay in engineering are best predicted by a combination of psychological factors and factors related to the organizational climate.
  • Women's decisions to stay in engineering can be influenced by key supporters in the organization, such as supervisors and co-workers.
  • Being given opportunities for training and development was a key factor that influenced current engineers' career and job satisfaction.
  • Women in the survey who wanted to leave their companies were also very likely eventually to leave the field of engineering altogether.
  • Women who graduated with an engineering degree but who did not enter the field are using the knowledge and skills gained in their education in a number of other fields.

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Did you know that in the United States currently there are three job-seekers for every available job, but that for computing occupations, this trend is inverted? The Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online Data Series shows that there are three available IT-related job openings for every one IT-trained job-seeker. This is great news for those of us who are working to encourage computing as a career, and those of you who have seen the projections from the Department of Labor know that one of the reasons we’re encouraging women’s involvement is that women represent a vast talent pool for building a workforce that can fill these burgeoning IT jobs. If you’re curious to see how the ratio of future jobs to potential job-seekers plays out where you live and work, check out our data map at http://www.ncwit.org/cseducation.

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Did you know that when a male CEO has a daughter, the gender wage gap at his company is smaller? Researchers studying more than 700,000 workers at more than 6,000 Danish companies found that if a CEO’s first-born child was a daughter, the wage gap at his company closed by nearly 3 percentage points. (Denmark’s gender wage gap, unadjusted for rank or hours worked, is currently 21.5 percent.) The researchers theorize that having a daughter makes male leaders more sensitive to the experiences of women in the workplace. What do you think?

Did You Know? is a brief round-up of information and news that crossed NCWIT’s radar this week that we think might be of interest to you. Practices or content of the news presented are not vetted or endorsed by NCWIT.