The Best of Systers Blog Workplace Cited as a Major Reason for Women Not in Engineering
I once worked in a place where the lactation room was in the women’s restroom. Let me say that another way. I worked a place where someone had the thought, “Goodness, women need a place to do boobie things, why not let them do that close to where they also defecate.” I’m not talking about the next room over, I’m talking about in the same room, half of it with stalls and half of it with a couch and refrigerator.
Some might say, “Wow, how nice that someone even thought about a place for women to lactate.” And, since I have had to lactate while sitting in a bathroom stall, I might agree with them. It is nice that there was a place for women to lactate.
But, why, why oh why, does it have to be right next to where people do some very unhygienic things? Why couldn’t someone have had the thought to create a whole room set aside with books and magazines about being a new mom, cleaning supplies, and a place to store a pump. Why?
And it is with this thought that I turn to a recent article which summarizes a report titled “Stemming the Tide: Why Women Leave Engineering.” Here is the part I’d like to highlight:
“Those who left:
- About 11% said they left because of working conditions, too much travel, lack of advancement, or low salary.
- Approximately one-in-five women left because they did not like the workplace climate, their boss or the culture.
- Eight percent left to spend time with family.
- Those who left were not different from current engineers in their interests, confidence in their abilities or the positive outcomes they expected from performing engineering-related tasks.”
So when companies ask themselves, why can I not recruit more technical women? where are all the technical women? why do women leave my company more often than men? This article provides some very concrete places to start.