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Sci-tech Survey Unveils Global Women's Employment Situation
Source:Chinese Women's Research Network | Release Date:2018-9-26-
Title: Sci-tech Survey Unveils Global Women's Employment Situation
Author: Xie Wen
Source: China Women's News
Release Date: 2018/9/18
Keyword: Sci-tech Survey, Global Women, Employment Situation

Women are still in the minority in scientific and technological circles, despite their qualified ability and quality, according to research recently conducted by several authoritative organizations from across the world.

UNESCO's scientific report released in 2017 shows that women account for 53 percent of the people with bachelor's and master's degrees in the world, and 43 percent of doctors, whilst only 28 percent of researchers are women.

As for technology companies, a study by recruitment company HiringSolved said that only 19.6 percent of the top 25 technology companies in Silicon Valley in the U.S. are women.

Up to May this year, women accounted for nearly 40 percent of the total number of science and technology workers in China, as in about 36 million. However, it is evident to observe that women rarely occupy the top positions, and such situations in some of the other fields are also disappointing, say experts.

In a 2016 investigation among more than 100,000 programmers in 28 provinces and regions in China, men accounted for an absolute majority of nearly 76.9 percent, with the male to female ratio exceeding 12:1.

This data confirms the fact that women are the absolute minority in the scientific and technological community, whether it is the total number or the number of senior practitioners.

Why are women the minority in this field?

A study by the University of Washington analyzed more than 1,200 papers on women's small numbers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects, and selected the three factors that best explain gender distribution, which are: lack of college preparatory experience, belief in gender differences, and the patriarchal culture that reduces female participation.

It is easy to notice that excluding the hard indicator of lacking college preparatory experience, the other two factors are the manifestations of the suppression of gender inequality culture and the restraint of women, say commentators.

The study reveals that the influence of patriarchal culture is mainly distributed in three aspects, as in the stereotype of women which contradicts women's self-perception in this field; the negative impression of female ability; and, the lack of female role-models in this area.

These factors intertwine to release a strong signal that women do not belong, according to some. This can lead to women being blocked to form interests in these fields, make them retreat and even feel discouraged.

A new report released by the Pew Research Center in January intuitively unveiled the gender issues that prevail in the STEM field that half of women have suffered gender discrimination and 22 percent of them are victims of sexual harassment.

At the Edge 2018 Silicon Valley Women's Elite Workplace Summit, a number of senior female employees from tech companies such as LinkedIn and Google also revealed similar annoyances. It is the discrimination and injury incurred by female identity that has caused many women to consciously or forcefully withdraw from pursuing the top positions in the field of science and technology.

However, men dose not naturally born to be dominant in a certain field. The phenomenon is built on the cornerstone of an unequal gender culture. In 2014, a national education progress assessment survey in the U.S. showed that among over 20,000 girls aged 13-14, 45 percent of which performed well in the areas of technology and society, design and systems, and information and communication technology; by contrast, the figure of boys is only 42 percent.

Sex discrimination and harm to women in the scientific and technological circles seriously hinders the pace of their creation and development, and it is also a huge loss for human society. It should not be considered as an "elephant in the room," nor be ignored to pretend that it does not exist.

Although the overall global data still presents a serious gender imbalance, it can also be seen that the situation has been improving through the long-term unremitting struggle of the female group.

In 2014, under pressure from various sources, large corporations such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter announced employment information on women and ethnic minorities, which directly indicated that white males dominated the Silicon Valley technology circle.

Soon, a number of companies announced they would invest hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the working environment and atmosphere to make their companies more diverse and inclusive.

According to research data disclosed by a German data company, after the investment and rectification for three years, the proportion of female employees in Facebook has been raised to 35 percent in 2017, of which 19 percent were in technical jobs, both of which were 3 percent higher than in 2015; while such proportion in Google was 31 percent, including 20 percent in technical positions, an increase of 1 percent and 2 percent compared with the data two years ago.

In contrast, the gender equality is more fully realized in the Chinese technology industry. More than 55 percent of technology companies are founded by women, compared to the statistics of 22 percent in the U.S.

According to a survey conducted among 900 customers in the U.S., UK and China by Silicon Valley Bank on the number of women executives, 54 percent of U.S. companies and 53 percent of UK claimed "one or more;" whilst the number was up to 80 percent in China.

As for the board level, only 34 percent of U.S. companies and 39 percent of UK companies have one or more female directors; while the number is 61 percent for Chinese companies.

"As it turns out that the world needs science, and science needs women, and more than ever. But more importantly, gender equality is the matter concerning social justice. As a human community, people have the obligation to ensure a balanced set of values," said Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum.

(Source: China Women's News / Translated and edited by Women of China)
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