Leaning in, but Getting Pushed Back (and Out)
WiSE held its monthly discussion and social on Wednesday, November 16th at The Midnight. The topic of conversation was “Leaning In, but Getting Pushed Back Out.” A recent article surveyed a wide range female engineers to assess their current professional standing. If the women were no longer in the engineering field, the authors sought explanations for why women had left the field. The study found that women tend to find engineering work places uninviting and even hostile. As a woman in engineering, I was eager to hear others’ viewpoints.
WiSE members discussed why women might leave any profession, not just engineering fields. The question was posed, “Who responded to the survey?” The survey was sent out to many women engineers, but perhaps those who had negative experiences were more likely to respond. In addition, the survey did not mention spouses’ income or career. Were these women in a position to leave the profession without detriment to the total household income? Attendees were also curious about reentry rates back into the workforce, which was not addressed in the article. Several had suggestions for balancing family and work life, such as trading child care services, telecommuting, and encouraging men to take paternity leave. Though no final conclusions were made, it was a lively and friendly exchange of ideas.