For us, it was because her field (immunology) was simply less lucrative than mine (computer science). Given the differences in gender distributions between both fields, and the pay gap between fields, I think simplifying this as STEM collectively isn't sufficiently granular. I wonder what the rates are for "left CS after child" vs "left biology after child", and how they compare.
With that being said, it's likely that there are also systemic/structural differences as well; research (and academia in particular) is notorious for poor work-life balance (prior to tenure). Social undercurrents of expectation towards primary caregivers would certainly have some influence as well.
I know it shifts the narrative slightly, but I would also be interested to see the effects of PhDs on birthrates, broken down by field, gender, and country of birth. It seems to me that it would be negatively correlated, but I don't have the data to back up that observation.
I was a full-time wife and mom for a lot of years. I don't self identify as a feminist. But, post divorce, I've found that sexism has been a real issue in establishing an adequate income to support myself and my sons.
So I think society still has work to do. It's very problematic to deny people a means to support themselves and then act like their poverty is due to laziness or the like. That kind of "fuck you" has been known to foment bloody revolution.
Hell, when I started my career--as a single father--I had no experience beyond what I'd done learning how to program on my own ... and I still had relatively few questions asked beyond me proving in an interview that I knew what I was talking about.
In all the years I worked there, I met only one person who knew what GIS was without me having to explain it. He was a senior programmer in the department I wanted a job in.
He asked me for a date, thereby making it vastly less likely that I would be able to work there (in his department).
I'm sure he stopped to think about whether or not it would tank his career to date me. No, it wouldn't.
I'm equally sure he didn't bother to wonder how the question would impact my future at the company.
(I'm sure he also never wondered what my educational background might do for the company. I imagine he would have wondered if I could do something for his department if he hadn't been thinking of me as a sex object.)
I also appear to be the only woman to have ever spent time on the leader board of HN. Over the course of nine+ years, I've established exactly one useful contact through HN.
I've been endlessly mocked for thinking I could use HN to network and put up with endless crap that I don't really want to get into.
A piece of my writing hit the front page in January. It got more than 60k page views.
This did not result in a single tip or new Patreon supporter.
Instead, someone wrote me around the same time about a two month old comment where I talked about being suicidal over the sexism I face on HN. He offered to do a fundraiser for me out of sympathy.
I wrote back and said I would rather be taken seriously for my work and pointed him to the piece with 60k+ page views. He didn't reply to that.
I am routinely treated like a charity case, not like someone with something of value to offer that's worth money.
I'm on day six of a fast that is partly rooted in waiting for a deposit I expected Friday and still don't have and partly rooted in my inability to figure out how to turn my skills into money because I have the wrong bits between my legs to get taken seriously and paid for my work.
One of the first jobs I took (in IT) was for a large regional airline. After I had worked there for about a year, a position opened up that would have amounted to a promotion, both in pay and position. I had both the experience for the position, as well as a good reputation in the company. Further, my supervisor (with whom I had a good relationship) was in charge of the hiring effort, so I figured I had a pretty good in. Ultimately I was passed over for the position because my supervisor was a socially awkward man who used his position in the company to hire attractive women in hopes that they might one day sleep with him. He ended up hiring an (attractive) woman that worked nearby in accounting. She had no IT experience. I left because of this, and he hired two additional (unqualified) women this way before he got a little too touchy-feely and ended up fired.
I'm a man, in case you're wondering.
About ten years later I was working for a large healthcare provider. A position opened up for a senior software engineer and most of the software engineers in my department applied for it. Ultimately the head of IT ended up hiring an (attractive) data scientist from a different department, who had no experience in project management or software engineering. Everyone thought it was super weird until it came to light that he had hired her because she was his mistress and he was looking for a way to spend more time with her without arousing suspicion. He was also fired.
More years later, I put in a very competitive bid for some programming work with a company whom I had previously done contract programming work and had a good relationship with. Ultimately they selected someone else for the contract. Since I knew the owners, I contacted them directly to ask if there were anything I could have done to improve my bid. They explained to me that because they were a minority owned business (women) and were both of under-represented orientations (they were both lesbians) that they needed to select a contractor that reflected that, so they paid nearly twice as much to a small startup whom they had heard was also owned by lesbians. The project failed and they ended up paying almost three times as my bid.
Nobody I mentioned ended up ruined. The first two moved on to other jobs. The company that paid three times as much? Still around. They all paid a penalty for their bad decisions, though. Some people never do. Some people are just awful and life rewards them for it. It's not fair, but all you can really do is move on, try again, and do your best not to get bitter about the cards you've been dealt. I hope things get better for you.
Whether actual gender discrimination is also incompetence and/or immaturity is up to discussion. But it seems to still be acceptable in some places in the US. I hope Western Europe is doing better, but I don't know.
I don't think asking job candidates out on dates is especially smart or professional, but the comments here seem backwards.
If a man asks a woman out on a date, that means he DOES want to spend more time with her ... like at work. Even if the woman were to say no, he might still want to give her the job, just because he likes her. This is discrimination to the woman's advantage should she choose to take it.
If a man refuses to hire another man because he'd rather hire a woman so he can try to date her, that means he does NOT want to spend time with that man. This is to the man's disadvantage.
There is clear discrimination in both these stories, against the men and in favour of the women. DoreenMichele may have felt she couldn't work with a man who asked her out on a date, but plenty of people do manage it. And of course men can ask women out on dates without perceiving them as "sex objects", that's itself a kind of bizarre assumption or even insult to men. Men and women date successfully all the time without objectification coming into it.
On a side note, I come from a place where we had communism and as a consequence women in science are marginally a majority (the country is Bulgaria). The vast majority (80%) of the IT reqruiters here are female and despite of that they still target, interview and hire 90% of the times male candidates. I really wish I could tell if the cause is prejudice or merit, but I can't.
I don't doubt that I sound particularly negative in the comment, but your comment amounts to monstrous callousness of exactly the sort that fosters my negative perspective.
Traditionally, people can also help each other through big family, church and other local communities. The new generation does not want to be involved in any of these. Now they want the government and their employers to bear more responsibility to support their personal life.
~ Do you have any evidence showing single dads get better treatment than single moms?
This is not the question that needs to be shown; while parent comment is indeed a single mom, she cited sexism as the obstacle. This is not necessarily due to her particular circumstance as a single mom but may refer to discrimination that all women face.
Sexism is easier to show, due to the intense research on it. Not knowing a priori her experience, every year research comes out of some think tank about gendered discrimination in the workplace; a google search should return results.
During my time as a single dad, I began my career in in programming. I started working for others. I now work for myself. In that time ...
- Zero female superiors have asked me on a date.
- Zero female coworkers have asked me on a date.
- Zero female coworkers have commented on or complimented my appearance--I'm no Brad Pitt, mind you, but I also don't look like someone took a hatchet to a picket fence. The closest I've gotten to a female commenting on my appearance is someone saying she thought I looked a little like Mark Wahlberg.
- Zero comments have ever been made when I've shown up late due to something kid-related (like school being delayed and dropping them off at school 2 hours later than normal).
- Zero comments have ever been made when I leave earlier than everyone else for something kid-related (like picking them up from school).
- Zero comments have ever been made when I've missed entire days due to something kid-related (like a kid being sick, or a school holiday (which I've always taken as work-from-home days so I could be with them)).
- Zero comments have ever been made when I've taken a break mid-day to attend a school function. I do the function, come back asap, and get back to work without a hiccup.
- I've never been asked if or how kids (or being a single parent) might impact my work.
- I demand a higher salary explicitly because I have kids to support, want to provide them a good life, and I have never had that questioned.
- I have never once been asked to compromise when I say I cannot do something because it conflicts with my parenting, my kids' activities, or something I've planned to do with them. When I say I have something to do with my kids, that ends the conversation, because I do not have a partner who can do these things and they know this.
- I have never once had a client question if my kids will get in the way of 6-figure contracts.
- I have never once had a client complain or ask me to compromise when I decline to do something or cannot get to something because it interferes with my kids or parenting.
- I've never been denied a raise when I've asked for it, despite the fact that I openly do not compromise my time with my kids.
- I have never been denied a promotion when I've sought after them, despite the fact that I openly do not compromise my time with my kids.
I could continue to dig deeper if you'd like.
This comment reeks of being an outsider who does not have the slightest clue what being a single parent is like.
Your notions of these "traditional" means of people helping each other are anchored in a past that does not strongly exist in many areas today.
- Big family => what if you don't have one of those? what if family is far away?
- Church => what if you're not religious? what if (gasp!) church isn't terribly fond of single parents--especially single mothers--and treat them in a way that denigrates their humanity because they happen to be unwed parents?
- Local communities => like what? single parent groups? homeless shelters? something else? Most of these kinds of communities offer emotional or social support in some degree--say, people you can talk to about the struggles of being a single parent--but they cannot help you put food on the table, provide clothing and shelter, or buy diapers. That's what having a job is for! Single parents don't want to wind up in a homeless shelter because they cannot afford to support their children.
I don't know what this new generation is in your eyes, but having been and known an awful lot of single parents over the last 15 years, I've never seen any of them want the government or their employers to bear responsibility to support their personal life. What they want is a fair shake at the job market, to be treated like everyone else, to have a bit of flexibility when their kids need it, and to never have their kids brought up as a liability in their employment lives. I've never seen a single parent believe they're entitled to an easy life. I've seen a lot of single parents struggle with navigating society and job markets that seem to want to ignore the reality of single parenthood.
Every single mother I've known has been hit on, asked on dates, had overt sexual advances made toward them physically and verbally--hey, she's a single mom, so you know she puts out, right?--had comments made toward them about their kids, experience a complete lack of flexibility when it comes to pay and schedule ... and a host of other things that directly contradict my own experience for 15 years as a single father. I think it's pretty fair to call out the inherent sexism in the general job market--and even in tech specifically. It's pretty ridiculous.
What we need is equality of opportunity.
We don't need to even strive for a 50/50 M/F split in STEM, parenting, dance, healthcare, martial arts, etc. for everything we do in society. The majority of men and women might have very different interests and we want people doing what they're interested in and what gives them joy, not pushing them to do something the majority of their gender isn't usually interested in.
But, when it's not close to a 50/50 split it's fair to ask why. Are men and women being given the same opportunity to join and be successful?
If it's because men and women on average are different then nothing is wrong. But if it's because men aren't hiring women because of a bias then something is wrong.
And historically we've been willing to give special treatment to those who are underrepresented to help correct past biases.
So, yes the pendulum might swing from a bias to a quota before it goes back to equality. We see this in college admissions and people are starting to want to swing it back to equality which is fine once the initial biases in the system become rare enough that striving for diversity becomes the biggest bias in the system.
Of course this is very difficult to measure and is largely influenced by culture and wether you've historically received preferential or biased treatment.
For a less sensitive example, imagine how hard football teams would practice if the NFL wanted the equality of outcome with each team winning the Super Bowl every 32 years. The worse my team is the harder the league has to try to make my team win which is great for me but bad for competition. And if I just won, I have no reason to try because the league doesn't want me to keep winning and will do whatever it takes to stop me from hogging all the trophies.
Equality of opportunity means an external force will step in to correct a situation to ensure that person A and person B are playing by the same rules.
Back to the OC, we should be obsessed with a level playing field in STEM but not obsessed with a 50/50 ratio.
I've often theorized that much of the widely talked about pay gap has to do with either professions that women often wish to work in - or that society steers them to - but I dont know enough to know if its personal preference, or sociocultural bias driving personal preference.
In the end, pay equality and open doors are important things, and is something we as a society should work on.
So yes, there is sexism in academic STEM hiring: 2:1 in favor of women.
But go on, rant against those straw men if it makes you feel better.
The same logic applies to businesses, to reduce the risk of making mistakes that come with echo chambers.
If we state that bias is a risk then we must conclude that around 90% of the population work in echo chambers (more if we find that 60/40 is still quite bad segregation) and could use the benefit of reduced risk of mistakes. It would be interesting to hear what suggestions people have to address this generally so that the 88.4% of men and 88.6% women can reduce the risk.
So, I'd say your assumption is incorrect.
That's only true if all biases cancel each other out perfectly.
A faculty is made up of 90% "ethnic Germans" and 10% Jews. According to the hypothesis, getting that makeup closer to the societal demographics will result in a "lower risk of bias".
I hope it is now obvious to see that the hypothesis is a non-sequitur.
Let's take another example:
A planet somewhere in the milky way galaxy is populated equally by Red, Blue and Green Octopodes. They are biased differently in three dimensions:
Red (3, 2, -2)
Blue (0, 3, 4)
Green (23, -56, 128)
Note, I'm not making an argument against diversity. The average Green Octopode may hold extremist views, but they shouldn't be excluded from a group merely to reduce bias. Just like humans, Green Octopodes should be treated as the individuals that they are, not as a weight in a multivariate optimization problem.
Demographics are only slightly correlated with how people think, so this form of argument falls flat unless you think encouraging conservatives to get into science is far more important.
(Definitely not for me. Life today is much better than it was 50 years ago in communist Yugoslavia, despite higher inequality and bias, due to progress in science and business.)
If you don't agree with that, I'd love to hear why, and why the related studies are false. Can start with this one, which is the first result: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.685...
There's quite the bibliography to pour through there, though, if you really want to shatter the science behind why diversity is a good thing. Good luck!
We can be pretty confident that if 50% of the population are women then 50% of the best candidates for a given job, by natural aptitude, are women. The same logic applies to minorities as well, so we can be confident that any process calibrated to finding the best person for the job is going to turn up a diverse workforce.
However, once policies designed to enforce diversity come in to play, that correlation will be broken and you just have a sexist/racist/whatever hiring system.
You shouldn't be as confident as you're probably wrong. Women have on average better verbal intelligence, and men have on average better spacial intelligence. So we can be confident there are jobs where either men or women are more likely to be best candidates.
And even then you can't reasonably claim that most jobs are better performed by spatial or verbal thinking. Both tend to have their moments.
What would be the motivation to induce or somehow encourage males to take up a career for which they clearly have no particular enthusiasm. I wonder how many males harbour a secret desire to be a nurse but are discouraged by societal norms? Need some amazing evidence for that one.
Pretty sure more males harbour a secret desire to be a nurse than males that harbour a secret desire to be a garbage man, and yet we see nurses are 90% female and garbage men being 90% male. The question is why.
Wether it's effective is highly circumstancial.
Some things that would help in my opinion as a mother: affordable and accessible day care including back up care, at least 12 months maternity leave, flexible work arrangements (time and place), PTO (imagine both parents only have 2 weeks to spend with their kids outside of weekends), extended school and camp programs, affordability of all.
I went back to work when babe was 4 months. I have only 2 weeks PTO, there inst even a Christmas shut down, I have no family in the area, the daycare centers around me have 1 year waiting lists and are over $2500/month. I am underpaid. My work is flexible thankfully.
I don't blame women who quit.
I like common theories in order to explain similar data, so what theory can we make in order to explain why being a minority gender, for example women in science and men in the teaching profession, both tend to leave their positions in greater rate than the majority gender? A lack of support from family members and communities? I find that possible but a bit grim given how universal gender segregation is with about 90% of all employed here in Sweden.
And that's important because it means a portion of the best brains are dropping out the mix, largely against their will.
The other 4 men and 4 women are pretty good, but not nearly as good as the top developers.
If a company needs to hire 10 people, and they hire men, they will not be able to fill their entire hiring need.
Obviously a silly policy, and it leaves a lot of good talent on the table.
So instead, the company hires the best it can.
4 amazing women
4 amazing men
1 average woman
1 average man
That is an optimal team given the local talent!
But now let's have the company put in some sexist work place policies. Half the woman leave. Now the company is down to
2 amazing women
to make up for lost numbers, the company is going to have to hire talent that is not as good as the talent that left!
The tl;dr is that discriminatory policies artificially limit the labor pool, reducing the overall efficiency of a company (and the economy of a nation as a whole if looked at broadly enough).
The other thing is that the labor pool is already too large, lies from the industry notwithstanding.
Discussions about quotas are separate from discussions about how discriminatory practices limit hiring pools, and how discriminatory workplace environments decrease the overall level of talent at an organization.
(For what it is worth, the same reasoning being discussed here is why professional sports teams figured out long ago that racism was bad for business.)
Mathematically, if there is a labor shortage, then cutting out part of the hiring pool based on criteria that are not correlated with the qualifications of candidates, will always result in worse hiring decisions being made.
If there is a surplus of talented labor then whoever is doing the hiring can be pretty much as nasty as they want to be and still form a team of pretty good caliber.
The rational debate is generally surrounding equal opportunity and compensation.
Of course there are always going to be quacks pushing the debate in irrational directions however, and it's a trendy topic at the moment.
So if you are in favor of STEM getting the best STEM minds, its important for STEM fields to reflect that STEM is for everyone. Having as many women as men is a step in that direction.
Richard Feynman's IQ was famously average though his scientific contributions to society were most certainly not.
Richard Feynman is the exception that proves the rule.
PI: "You put your kid in front of the TV for 2 hours a day to get stuff done? That's terrible parenting."
PI: "You will be late 1 day for a meaningless group presentation to your own lab, because your child is sick and can't go to daycare? Get your priorities straight."
EDIT: Sorry, I just assumed that you didn’t equally stay at home when the kid was sick. How did your boss react when you didn’t show up?
If you want to be good parents though, it is your imperative to put your kids above all else, which will naturally dissatisfy any members of the "all else" who don't have your well being and success as their priority.
People who had children left at a higher rate than people who did not.
Women who had children left at a rate with a greater (additional or multiplier) increase over the rate of women without children than did men with children over men without children.
As far as I understand it even at these high perk Santa Clara/Silicon Valley companies childcare isn’t a given. There are waiting lists and other limits. They want to attract women, but they fall short on this aspect.
The real problems are A. the number of people who can actually do that is way below replacement rates on the current population and B. women are still dropping their workforce participation much moreso than men are.
[*] I don't think it needs to be biological parents, more that many-to-one day care, especially with rotating or inconsistent caretakers and especially the younger you get, is harmful to development, Theres a lot of research on "models" of parenting and child rearing and how effective they are at producing the "best" children by varing definitions of best, but classical day care is usually considered by most metrics one of the worst.
I know STEM PhDs who have left their field to get a bog standard devops job on account of it pays twice as well.
In my time on Wall Street I've had many colleagues with STEM PhDs. I can't think of a single one who is female.
They either went part time, switched to non-STEM careers or left the workforce altogether.
I've lived this myself and also watched many instances of it in friends and colleagues. Is anyone really shocked by the idea that new mothers might decide they'd like to stay home and raise their kids?
As a man, I'd almost have killed to stay home and have my wife keep working, but that's just not how it is.
Perhaps there is a common theme that Full-Time science isn't necessarily the best life path for many people and the "US Female Scientists who leave" are actually happy with the outcome rather than symptom of a problem.
You can phrase it another way - "Many Male Scientists stuck in their job and unable to change their STEM careers".
To address one aspect of criticism, studies like these are not necessarily with an interest toward equal representation for its own sake, nor something that is best dealt with by resigning to the status quo that people are free to make choices and they deal with the consequences of it. There is talent lost in the field when stuff like this happens, and this is a first step to understanding if there are more efficient ways to address a need among families that is not currently being adequately addressed. If these can be addressed efficiently, then people will make different choices, and the consequences of those different decisions may be a net benefit to everyone.
Obviously this is a decision for couples to make for themselves, not for bureaucrats, economists, or activists to make for them.
(See e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_psychology#... - Childhood play, Intelligence, Personality traits, Empathy)
Science very heavily favors breastfeeding above the substitute. While pumping breast milk is a choice, it can be difficult in practice and some science points to it still being different for both the mother and the child in terms of hormonal differences and of course the physican touch/emotional wellbeing.
How do society treat men who stay?
How do society treat women who leave?
Society in this case mean social status, divorce rates, size of social networks, number of children, and other measurable factors. Answer all four and we likely have a clear answer why men don't leave at the same rate as women after they have a child.
The main issue in every case was that as the new mothers got to the end of their maternity leave, they started to think about day care. In the end, they felt that they could not trust the day care centres with their child. Similarly the mothers did not trust their own husbands to look after the child because the husband had not spent much time with the child at that point. Because all of the families I knew were relatively well off with dual incomes, they eventually decided that the woman would quit work to look after the child.
In my anecdotal data, in no cases was there a salary gap between the man and the woman. Both were making roughly the same amount. Neither was it a case of not being able to afford child care -- although, once they crunched the numbers the cost of child care was a good percentage of one of the salaries, so it made it easier to take the financial hit to move to a single income. As far as I could tell, in all cases it just came down to trust.
For this reason, I think there should be some sort of encouraged paternal leave. For example, the government/company in partnership could pay for 80% of the salary for 6 months for the father to look after the child. This would occur immediately after the mother's maternity leave.
What this does is provide a financial incentive for the father to learn to look after the child. When the paternity leave is finished, then the choices look very different. I think it's still likely that one parent (in well to do dual family incomes) will choose to look after their child and quit their job (and I see nothing wrong with that). However, now the woman has spent the last 6 months working and it will be a harder decision to quit. The man now has had a chance to show that he can look after the child and the woman will be able to trust him with that responsibility.
I honestly believe without that kind of system, there will always be a disparity between men and women when it comes to one parent choosing to quit their job and raise children. I should point out that, personally, I think raising children is a wonderful job, even if it doesn't pay so well ;-) Sometimes I think modern society looks down on that role and I think it's rather unfair. However, I do understand that we aren't quite modern enough to make that job reasonably risk free (you're dependent upon your spouse which is not always going to work out). We've got a long way to go...
Compare that to Denmark where every couple gets ten(ish) months of leave that can be used by the mother or father as they see fit. Danish women take an average of 9 months off while Danish men take an average of 1 month off.
I'd wager that US Female Scientists probably make less than their partners. I'd wager that it's more likely for a US Female Scientist to stay in her position when she makes more money than her partner.
Do US Female Scientists have a preference for starting families with those who out-earn them?
Is there a problem with the system when men have to give up opportunities due to having children?
Why do we care that not everyone is offered the same opportunities? Life isn't fair.
Until I see women fighting to take on all the roles men have taken in life, Alaskan commercial fishermen, roughneck oil rig workers, loggers etc... and just not 1 or 2, equal representation throughout I am not concerned with unequal representation in STEM, tech or any of the fashionable areas to be concerned with.
Does that mean we live with the status quo ? Whether it's institutional racism, sexism or plain fascism, do we not fight against inequalities in society to make it better ? You're lucky to have 24x7 electricity and internet connection, you wouldn't be so gung ho about "Life isn't fair" if you couldn't sustain yourself.
"Until I see women fighting to take on all the roles men have taken in life, Alaskan commercial fishermen, roughneck oil rig workers, loggers etc... and just not 1 or 2, equal representation throughout I am not concerned with unequal representation in STEM, tech or any of the fashionable areas to be concerned with."
Who are you to gatekeep what they can or can't go in ? I guarantee you most middle class males also won't go for these jobs, demand is often governed by economic opportunities and right now services and software is ruling the roost. Who are you to decide these arbitrary standards for being eligible for "fashionable" sectors.
I didn't see women fighting to get into those physically demanding jobs, or demand quotas or any of the other nonsense we see today. It's fashionable to be tech because it is easy work that provides a comfortable lifestyle. Thinking otherwise is foolish.
I can decide these arbitrary standards just as one else can decide their own arbitrary standard just because they don't conform to your standards doesn't mean they are wrong.
Any quota placed on the diversity of race, gender or another divide we can think of is asine, waste of time, and pointless. You can think otherwise, I don't really care, I don't need everyone to like or agree with me. I accept that as a part of life.
> I didn't see women fighting to get into those physically demanding jobs
I don't see hordes of men striving to be lumberjacks or miners either. For some reason most men want to sit in the comfortable office or a research lab too.
Although I agree with you about "life isn't fair and probably never will be" part, gatekeeping women from entering professions and not offering them equal opportunities (should be italicized) is not the unfairness we should keep. It is a degenerate mindset that must be eradicated.
But yeah, expecting equality of outcome is foolish and quotas are probably not a good idea.