Thursday, July 5, 2018

Equity pending: Why so few women receive patents; The Christian Science Monitor, July 2, 2018

E'oin O'Carroll, The Christian Science Monitor; Equity pending: Why so few women receive patents

"The causes for the gender gap are varied and complex, but much of it can be explained by women’s underrepresentation in patent-intensive jobs, particularly engineering. Research shows women make up roughly 20 percent of graduates from engineering schools, but hold less than 15 percent of engineering jobs. Female engineering grads are not entering the field at the same rate as their male counterparts, and they are leaving in far greater numbers.

“It’s the climate,” says Nadya Fouad, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “The organizational environment is very unforgiving.”

Professor Fouad, who spent three years surveying women with engineering degrees about their career choices, cites inflexible schedules, a lack of opportunities for advancement, and incivility toward women. “It’s not the women’s fault,” she says, noting that she found no difference in levels of confidence in those who stayed and those who left.

Other barriers women face are an absence of supportive social networks and implicit bias on the part of venture capitalists."

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