Why are women not better represented in politics, business, engineering, mathematics, science, and technology?
That is a question many ask. If you look at universities, often there are more women than men in a class. What happens to them? Why aren’t there more women leaders in management, more female CEO’s, and more women in Parliament? Why aren’t there more women in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering? Recently many articles have appeared on the topic. And the conclusion they all come to is that there is a big gender gap, despite universities having more female than male students. The question that they all ask is how can we bridge the gender gap? It is seen as a big problem.
The UK has made a study of women in business in Asian countries. According to this study, women in Asian countries are far less represented in business and leadership than women in Western countries. The study: Defined by absence: Women and research in South Asia claims that women make up a healthy number in undergraduate studies, but disappear at the postgraduate level. Not enough women hold top positions in universities.
What would the answer be to this problem? If you look how women are represented in small business, then according to the National Women’s Business Council in the US, (2012 statistics) 36.3% were women owned. Of these 89.5% have no employees other than the owner.
According to The Atlantic, women-owned small businesses are growing at a staggering rate. They claim that the rate of women owned businesses grew 68% from 2007 to 2015. However, women owned businesses earned $0.25 for each $1 men-owned businesses earned. Women in the workforce also earn less than men.
What can be done about this?
According to one source, the solution lies in society; in what they expect women to do and in what they teach them. It is in how society treats women: often victims of sexual harassment and the fact that women have to work harder to get to the top. They also have to prove that they are better at their job than their male counterparts before they are considered for a promotion.
It is also in what happens in the home. In most homes husbands come home from work, dog tired, and flopping on the couch with a drink and the TV remote: A well-deserved rest after a long day at work. Women come home from a hard day at work and do the cooking, cleaning, see to the kids and do the laundry. This is seen as a reason for women not going for the top jobs.
As an ex teacher, I have seen girls and boys at play during recess. The boys go for the computer or pull out a hand held game they are playing. Some play a quick game of basketball. The girls sit in groups and talk. If you ask the girls if they want to go on the computer, they look at you as if you’re weird and say: “Of course not. We’re busy talking to our friends.” It seems that girls are more social than boys.
So the question is: What do women really want? Do they want the top jobs? Do they want leadership? Do they have enough leadership and management at home? Or is this a problem someone has thought up that is not really a problem? Do women feel that they shouldn’t be good at these subjects because of stereotyping or is it a choice?
If it is a genuine problem, what do we do about it?
According to the AAUW, there are gender stereotypes and gender bias in colleges that offer Science, Mathematics, and Engineering. The solutions that they offer are to take steps to make sure women become interested in these subjects, and that colleges create environments to support women who study these subjects and that they actively work at counteracting the naysaying, bias, and stereotyping.