"Engineering school was pure hell for me," one survey respondent wrote. "My personality inspired much sexist behavior from my male classmates and my teaching assistants. At some point, after many interviews, I decided that I wouldn't want to spend the majority of my waking hours with the type of people interviewing me."
Total shock that women probably want the same things from their jobs that men want. We are not all baby making machines ready to leave once the 'mones kick in. Asking too much not to be belittled or undermined in the job, having some vague idea about what your job purpose is, and knowing how to move up? I know you're thinking, "Hey FrauTech, I'm a dude, and I have these same concerns!" You're right sir!
Women engineers who were treated in a condescending, patronizing manner, and were belittled and undermined by their supervisors and co-workers, were most likely to want to leave their organizations, according to the study.
Long working hours, unclear work objectives and a lack of company planning also drove women to leave the field.
"This study touched a nerve with so many women," Fouad said. "Those who stay in the field differ in that they have supportive supervisors and co-workers, and they have very clear perceptions of their jobs and how they can advance in the field."
It's kind of sad that for this kind of thing to get traction means they have to "reach out" to men. Like we're two different species. I tend to agree with the statement in the article that states that engineering universities should "give women a more realistic preview of engineering tasks and workplace cultures." But I don't think that's a women only problem. And much as the macho/top-dog/kill yourself working culture hurts women it hurts men too. Only the other societal pressures on men are probably not as heavy as they are on women, hence why women leave the industry more often. But that doesn't mean fixing the workplace culture wouldn't benefit everyone. And it means it's not some crazy niche idea for women only.
Men could have the same complaints, but they haven't left the field as often.
Many companies have struggled with employee retention.
"There are probably quite a few male engineers who aren't necessarily thrilled with the workplace climate," said Charlene Yauch, Industrial Engineering program director and associate professor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.
It also says companies should have zero tolerance for bad behavior.
"We hope to reach out to men as well," Fouad said about another study she wants to do.
But the numbers for women have stayed pretty flat: "Women comprise more than 20% of engineering school graduates, but only 11% of practicing engineers are female, according to the National Science Foundation." I hate to think how much talent we lose when we ignore the low numbers of women and underrepresented minorities in engineering. Or the creativity and innovation we're throwing away when we stick to models of "good old boys" that hurt everyone, women, minorities, even white guys. I guess we need to "reach out" to those white guys to get them to buy into this idea that the system isn't working for them either. And that by working together we can make it better.