FIGURE 5-2 “Long working hours” Attribute: Attribute of success versus self-perception among mid-level technical men and women.

SOURCE: Simard, C. et al (2008). Climbing the Technical Ladder: Obstacles and Solutions for Mid-Level Women in Technology. Copyright granted by Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.

Simard next discussed employee feedback about their managers. In almost all attribute categories, no difference between male and female managers was observed except for their perceived technical skills. Both male and female employees rated their female managers lower in technical skills than their male manager counterparts. Simard explained that both men and women tend to exhibit an implicit bias against the technical skills of women. She further emphasized that this is increasingly important, considering that high-tech companies view technical skills as a critical indicator of success and, therefore, a key point for intervention to advance women.

In looking at family configurations, Simard noted that technical men and women appear to have children at similar rates, but gender differences arise when looking at the overall family structure. As shown in Figure 5-3, 80 percent of technical women, but only 40 percent of technical men, have a partner who also works full-time. This industry profile differs significantly from typical U.S. households, where only 19 percent of all marriages are based on the woman staying home and the man working. Simard stated that these results suggest that the primary household responsibilities tend to fall predominately to women in technical sector families leading to an unequal distribution of family responsibilities. She noted that this gender difference in family configuration may explain why women frequently do not seek upward mobility. Simard suggested that typical advancement rewards are delegated to individuals whom are available at all hours, so with increased household responsibilities, technical mid-level women do not have the same freedom to allocate their time as their male counterparts. She further noted that this trending is similar across all levels. In addition, most women are also partnered in dual-technical households.

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