II.
Barriers for Women in Corporate Culture

The apparent preference of women scientists and engineers for jobs outside the industrial sector and the larger exit rate of women than men from industrial employment suggest that women perceive the climate in industry as less than favorable for a scientific or technical career. Conference participants identified a number of underlying causes of this apparent inhospitable climate for women. Barriers that inhibit progress for women scientists and engineers in industry were found at every stage of career development:

  • recruitment and hiring practices that create de facto entry barriers for women,
  • aspects of a male-oriented corporate culture that are hostile to women,
  • paternalism,
  • allegations of reverse discrimination,
  • sexual harassment,
  • different standards for women and men,
  • disparities in the distribution of high-quality job assignments,
  • salary discrepancies based on one's sex,
  • failure of corporations to accommodate work-family issues, and
  • difficulty for women to advance into management.

In this chapter we define these barriers, present evidence of their persistence in corporations, and review the understanding that emerged at the conference of their impact on women. In particular, we focus on institutional or cultural attributes of corporations that (1) limit access of women to jobs, (2) create less than favorable working conditions for women, and (3) lead to high attrition rates for women in industry. Later chapters will examine corporate initiatives aimed at neutralizing these negative factors and will offer strategies that can help women overcome them.

Access

Recognizing the advantages inherent in utilizing women scientists and engineers in the corporate labor force, a number of companies—for



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--> II. Barriers for Women in Corporate Culture The apparent preference of women scientists and engineers for jobs outside the industrial sector and the larger exit rate of women than men from industrial employment suggest that women perceive the climate in industry as less than favorable for a scientific or technical career. Conference participants identified a number of underlying causes of this apparent inhospitable climate for women. Barriers that inhibit progress for women scientists and engineers in industry were found at every stage of career development: recruitment and hiring practices that create de facto entry barriers for women, aspects of a male-oriented corporate culture that are hostile to women, paternalism, allegations of reverse discrimination, sexual harassment, different standards for women and men, disparities in the distribution of high-quality job assignments, salary discrepancies based on one's sex, failure of corporations to accommodate work-family issues, and difficulty for women to advance into management. In this chapter we define these barriers, present evidence of their persistence in corporations, and review the understanding that emerged at the conference of their impact on women. In particular, we focus on institutional or cultural attributes of corporations that (1) limit access of women to jobs, (2) create less than favorable working conditions for women, and (3) lead to high attrition rates for women in industry. Later chapters will examine corporate initiatives aimed at neutralizing these negative factors and will offer strategies that can help women overcome them. Access Recognizing the advantages inherent in utilizing women scientists and engineers in the corporate labor force, a number of companies—for

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--> instance, E. I. duPont de Nemours and Company—have developed aggressive programs and strategies to recruit more women into these fields: Strength gained from diversity is the goal of our affirmative action program. Since projections of the future work force indicate that 80–85 percent of net additions over the next 10 years will be minorities and women, [greater] diversity is inevitable. The vision is to manage this to our advantage. We must recruit aggressively among these groups or the best and brightest will go elsewhere. We must train and develop our employees to get full use of their talents and capabilities. If we accomplish this, DuPont can continue to be one of the world's leading industrial companies. . . .7 Other companies were forced to open their doors to women in science and engineering by federal affirmative action policies initiated in the 1970s. While some programs have been effective, yielding significant progress in recent years, barriers that limit access to industry jobs for women remain. The rapidly changing work environment in corporations today, coupled with internal competition for head count (i.e., full-time employees), creates pressures to fill jobs quickly. Consequently, positions are often not advertised externally, and employers resort to traditional recruiting and hiring practices, using well-established and often exclusive networks. Women are not as likely to be well represented (firmly rooted) in these networks, which include internal and external personal contacts and linkages with search firms. Personal experiences shared at the conference illuminate some of the problems. According to one Ph.D. microbiologist, her first employer, in 1977, decided to begin hiring women only under threat of legal action. Six months before she was hired, she believes she would not even have been interviewed: In 1977 the company hired seven women at the Ph.D. level; these were added to an existing work force of about 300 people at all levels from the B.S. through the Ph.D. The 7   Robert C. Forney, cited in E. I. dupont de Nemours and Company (hereafter, DuPont), Diversity: A Source of Strength, Wilmington, DE: DuPont, 1988.

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--> company was pleased; they had acquired very well-qualified women who were so eager to prove themselves that they did whatever was asked. By 1986, about one-third of the middle level management was women—even though women were less than a third of the work force overall—because women had demonstrated they had the very skills the company was looking for. However, it is important to keep in mind that the company would never have known this if it had not been forced by law to hire women.8 In general, traditional recruiting and hiring practices were not consciously designed to exclude women. Nevertheless, they embody a predilection for replicating the attributes of the existing work force. In a small but growing manufacturing company where one conference participant is employed, managers responding to the question "Why haven't we hired more women?" answered: "We choose the best person." "The person must fit in with the rest of the group." "There weren't any women applicants." "We need a person who can hit the ground running." "The job requires long hours and weekends." What is the result of these messages? The company has what was referred to as a "model applicant," a stereotyped perception of the ideal candidate. If an applicant fits this model and the perceived comfort level of the group, the person is hired and the group reproduces itself. Often candidates are found when employees call their colleagues at other companies. While the company is thus spared the time and expense of more thorough recruiting, the net effect is reduced access for women, particularly minority women,9 who usually are not part of that collegial network. 8   Jane S. Allen, presentation at the CWSE conference, Irvine, CA, January 17, 1993. 9   Rosemary E. Chang, member of the technical staff at Silicon Graphics Computer Systems, presentation at the CWSE conference, Irvine, CA, January 17, 1993.

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--> The Workplace Environment The atmosphere of the workplace may be one in which women do not feel comfortable. However, subtle aspects of male-oriented culture that are hostile to women can be extremely hard to manage because they are deeply ingrained and because their impact is difficult to demonstrate. Marion Yuen, director of advisory services for Catalyst,10 reported findings from a 1991 study of female engineers employed in 30 large corporations, ranging from aerospace and chemical utilities to manufacturers of consumer products and high technology. She noted, Catalyst has spent many years studying working women, but seldom have research participants been as vocal about the nature of their work experiences—it is clear that female engineers really like the nature of what they do. As they enthusiastically discuss their work, they also share with us the difficult working conditions they encounter.11 Among the working conditions reported by Catalyst as inhibiting female engineers' productivity and retarding the development of their full potential—and supported in statements by both engineers and scientists at the CWSE-sponsored conference—were paternalism, sexual harassment, and the pressures associated with peers' allegations of reverse 10   Catalyst is a nonprofit organization that works with businesses to effect change for women through research and advisory services and communication. 11   In this referenced study, focus groups of human resource professionals were convened to guide the lines of inquiry. In addition, focus groups of women and men who were working engineers were also convened, and interviews were conducted with their engineering supervisors. Finally, both working engineers and human resources professionals helped Catalyst to interpret the results.

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--> discrimination.12 These issues and others, such as the perception of different standards for judging men and women and misunderstandings due to different styles of communication, create a negative workplace environment for women; they are discussed in what follows. Paternalism Catalyst's study found that paternalism—that is, condescending or protective treatment of women by men in authority at their companies—continues to be widespread. For instance, even though women may express the desire to be considered for a particular assignment, which may be critical for their professional development, certain work environments are often deemed inappropriate for them because they are women. Sometimes physical strength is assumed to be a necessary attribute for a particular assignment when it is really technological competence and persistence that are important in carrying out the assignment. For example, it was noted at the CWSE conference that some people still treat women geoscientists as though they, more so than male geoscientists, must be protected from the stresses and dangers associated with certain geoscience work—particularly fieldwork involving mines or ocean-going vessels. Despite the fact that women are willing to take the necessary physical risks or make sacrifices to gain work experience, they are often not offered the opportunity. One human resource representative told Catalyst that there was sometimes a tendency to put women in staff projects because of the perception that they cannot handle themselves in the plant. A survey of a sample of graduates of Cornell University's School of Engineering found that [t]he women interviewed contend that in the critical early stages of women's careers, many older men in management positions tended to assume a paternalistic attitude toward them. One woman's theory was that if you work for someone who coddles you, you tend to live down to those expectations. If someone expects you to accomplish great things, you try to achieve them, learn something from your 12   Catalyst, "Findings from a Study of Women in Engineering," CATALYST Perspective, May 1992.

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--> efforts, and build your self-confidence. This paternalistic attitude is especially detrimental to women in companies which, early in their employees' careers, target those with management potential for special career development.13 Still another example of paternalism is corporate management's doubts about women's willingness or ability to handle both work and family responsibilities. This disbelief extends, very often, to doubting the future reliability of single women. This paternalistic attitude is not new. As Ehrhart and Sandler reported in their examination of women students in nontraditional fields, [t]he devaluation that women face is evident in the perception that women are not as serious about their work. . . . "Why not stop with a B.S.? A pretty girl like you is bound to get married" is an all-too-common refrain. . . . When frequently faced with doubts about their ability and their commitment, many women, not surprisingly, lose self-esteem and career confidence. . . .14 Even if these attitudes have no basis in fact, the perception of their existence by women scientists and engineers is a fact. Thus, there is a need to establish whether the perception of many of the conference participants reflects reality. Similarly, some women at the conference felt they were trapped in futile, patronizing relationships in their companies, the kind of relationships that graduate students sometimes have with their advisers. They felt unable to develop their own identities and maturity in the workplace. 13   Deborah Celentano Gerber, presentation at the CWSE conference, Irvine, CA, January 17, 1993. 14   Julie Kuhn Ehrhart and Bernice R. Sandler, Looking for More Than a Few Good Women in Traditionally Male Fields, Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges, Project on the Status and Education of Women, 1987.

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--> Allegations of Reverse Discrimination A number of conference participants cited the importance of a critical mass of women at the work site in order for individual women to succeed and advance. They noted, however, that, as the numbers of women in the work place grow, men may begin to perceive women and other underrepresented groups to be much stronger and more numerous than they actually are. They may feel threatened, and a backlash against women may occur. Allegations of reverse discrimination—that is, charges that men are penalized because of special incentives and programs for women—also serve to contribute to a hostile work environment for women scientists and engineers. One female engineer at the conference felt she was being set up for failure by the persistent implication that she had risen to the next level only because she was female. Other conference participants, who had experienced the effects of these allegations both first-hand and indirectly, said that these allegations create or reinforce perceptions by some men and women that women, indeed, do not belong. One way of combating this notion that women are getting all of the advantages is to provide data; some companies have begun to publish statistics more widely on how opportunities within the company are filled, including lateral transfers, promotions, and so on. More information about such activities is provided in Chapter III. Sexual Harassment As noted by Hughes and Sandler, women in nontraditional fields, which include engineering and most fields of science, are among the four groups of women especially vulnerable to sexual harassment "because they may be perceived as 'barging into' an area where women 'don't belong' and should not be in competition with men for jobs."15 Minority women entering science and engineering (S&E) jobs in industry, it was also pointed out to the Committee, are frequently seen as "economic competitors, new on the scene, highly visible, but not of the 'in' group." Because, as recently as 15   Jean O. Hughes and Bernice R. Sandler, In Case of Sexual Harassment, Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges, Project on the Status and Education of Women, 1986.

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--> 25 years ago, women were advised to become homemakers, nurses, or precollege teachers, there are many fields considered to be nontraditional for women. Catalyst found that sexual harassment is evidenced, for example, by the posting of pin-ups in the workplace, nuances of language used by male co-workers, and putting the only female engineer at a business meeting on the spot by asking irrelevant, tangential, gender-related questions. For instance, in the Catalyst study, a human resources representative questioned the appropriateness of a particular job for a female engineer, saying, The engines will finally fire up at 11:00 at night and . . . you've got to be there. . . . That's where heroes are made and that's kind of conflicting with family responsibilities.16 As employees become more informed about the nature of sexual harassment, both they and their employers may act to eliminate it. For instance, the first class-action sexual-harassment case in U.S. federal courts was settled in May 1993 against a company found "liable for creating a hostile work environment by allowing abusive graffiti and language." The state of Minnesota has sued the same company "for violating state law that prohibits sexual harassment and sex discrimination in promotions." 17 Furthermore, U.S. companies are hiring ethics officers "to develop ethics policies, listen to employees' complaints, conduct training, and investigate abuses such as sexual harassment."18 Different Standards In "A Study of Occupational Departure of Employees in the Natural Sciences and Engineering," Anne Preston found only isolated instances of 16   Marion Yuen, director of advisory services at Catalyst, presentation at the CWSE conference, Irvine, CA, January 17, 1993. 17   Kevin G. Salwen, Labor letter: A special news report on people and their jobs in offices, fields, and factories, The Wall Street Journal, July 20, 1993. 18   Julie Pomparano Lopez, Managing, The Wall Street Journal, May 10, 1993.

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--> overt sexual harassment and sexual discrimination among the 50 women whom she interviewed. However, a common theme among all the women interviewed was their belief that they had to work harder than men to prove themselves. Many women felt they were judged by an entirely different set of standards and that respect came slowly at best.19 At the conference, women agreed that female managers tend to be interrupted more frequently than men and that their recommendations are ignored more frequently.20 One woman felt that, from the beginning of her career, she had to build a reputation so superior that men were ill advised not to listen. After building this reputation, she felt she could never make a mistake. She went on to become senior vice-president of marketing in a major oil company, but she believes that she worked much harder than her male counterparts to get to that position. Corporate policies can work to change cultural habits that negatively affect women, but they cannot quickly undo long-term and deeply embedded cultural norms. Some of those policies to redress the effects of past policies are described in the next chapter of this report. Both men and women at the CWSE conference said that men are often quick to challenge the findings of their female colleagues; it was also pointed out that women may be more sensitive to challenges by their 19   Anne Preston, "A Study of Occupational Departure of Employees in the Natural Sciences and Engineering," presentation at the CWSE conference, Irvine, CA, January 17, 1993. 20   Deborah Celentano Gerber was the first speaker at the CWSE conference to present this information, based on a survey she conducted with a number of women graduates of the Cornell University School of Engineering. However, it seems to be a pervasive experience of women scientists and engineers. Members of Systers, an electronic network, engaged in a lengthy discussion of their experiences, confirming conference findings, in May and June 1993. Such interruptions seem to follow a pattern established as early as elementary school. See, for instance, Jane Butler Kahle and Marsha Lakes Matyas, "Equitable Science and Mathematics Education: A Discrepancy Model," in Linda Skidmore Dix (ed.), WOMEN: Their Underrepresentation and Career Differentials in Science and Engineering (Proceedings of a Workshop), Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1987.

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--> colleagues than are men. According to Preston, many of the women in her study had been proving themselves since high school, but the different standards on which they were judged only became evident during graduate school or when they entered the workplace. Few of those surveyed, however, exited a technological field because of double standards alone. The uphill battle for acceptance had become a way of life, despite its mental and emotional toll. Similarly, in the Catalyst study, women who had been quite enthusiastic about the nature of their technological work during the training and early career stages were disappointed after choosing what they considered to be the path of more rapid advancement—management. In fact, they had chosen the more difficult path: women in the Catalyst study said that as managers they must continue to prove themselves, that their reputations are not as portable as those of their male peers, and that it was more difficult for them than for men to recover from management errors. Conference participants tended to concur with the findings of these studies, believing that women scientists and engineers are often held to higher standards than men. This was felt to be true even for owners or chief executive officers of companies. Styles of Communication Some women pointed out that misunderstandings between men and women can occur in the workplace because of the different ways that men and women sometimes communicate and provide feedback. For example, when a manager says "no objection," a man often interprets the phrase to mean that he has the approval to proceed. A woman, by contrast, may interpret the phrase to mean the boss has no positive feelings about the issue: he is neither enthusiastic nor supportive, and therefore she should not proceed.21 21   Rae Ann Hallstrom, presentation at the CWSE conference, Irvine, CA, January 17, 1993. See also, Norma Peterson, How do women manage?, Executive Female 7(4):45, July/August 1984; and Carol Berry, How to have clout at work and not talk like a man," Savvy, February 1986, p. 20.

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--> Recent research in psychology and sociology has demonstrated that professional women tend to get person-centered feedback from their environment while professional men tend to get task-centered feedback. Task-centered feedback consists of any response and commentary in a professional setting that is specific to the substance of the work done. . . . The commentator does not just compliment (or criticize) the performer generally or on his or her overall likability and "talent." (This would be "person-centered feedback.") Rather, the feedback (even when it is negative) continues the discussion in the direction that the presenter's work suggests. Thus, the performer can be truly flattered that the responder listened (observed, or read) closely, was instructed by the presenter's work, and has been stimulated to want to learn more.22 This phenomenon may be part of a systemic problem wherein males are not accustomed to seeing females as a source of information. Perceptions of the Role of Women An interesting dilemma has arisen in recent years as the work force has become diversified ethnically. Many ethnic groups have specific, sometimes limiting, perceptions of the roles of women; and, as female members of these groups are recruited more aggressively, those learned roles may prevent women, particularly minority women, from advancing in the industrial work force. For women from cultural groups that see them only as homemakers or in other "traditional female" occupations, there is a need to alter corporate cultures so that the values of nontraditional groups do not preclude contributions of women from those groups. One Hispanic scientist attending the CWSE conference noted that, in her family, A woman's education was not as highly valued as a man's because men are supposed to be the breadwinners. Girls are raised with a different perspective and different role 22   Sheila Tobias, a researcher who has contrasted the educational experiences of women and men, comments during the session on women in management, CWSE conference, Irvine, CA, January 17, 1993.

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--> scientists. Among engineers, Asian women earned the highest annual salary—an average of $35,000 in 1986. Comparable salaries for white women engineers and black women engineers were $34,300 and $32,900, respectively. At the doctoral level in 1989, Asian women again had the highest median salaries—$45,800 compared with $44,700 for white women, $44,400 for black women, and $43,500 for Native American women. Regardless of racial group, women scientists and engineers reported median annual salaries lower than those of men of the same race. The differential between the salaries of Asian women and Asian men was the largest. In 1986, Asian women earned salaries equal to 74 percent of Asian men's salaries, black women's median salaries were equal to 78 percent of black men's salaries, and white women's salaries were equal to 76 percent of white men's salaries. Among doctoral scientists, the differences between women's and men's salaries were not as large. In 1989, at the doctoral level, black women's salaries were 87 percent of black men's salaries, Asian women's salaries were 82 percent of Asian men's, and white women's were 79 percent of white men's.43 Research has shown that many minority women experience discrimination based on both sex and ethnicity—for instance, minority women have more difficulty accessing higher-paying occupations than do Caucasian women, even after controlling for such factors as schooling and work. Work-Family Issues According to Jacqueline M. Akinpelu, head of the Network Capacity Operation Systems Planning Department, AT&T Bell Laboratories,     (e.g., Pacific Islanders, Filipinos, Koreans) has a different participation rate within science and engineering, and all subgroups should not be treated as a single group. 43   Ibid.

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--> Balance between career and personal life will almost always become a critical issue. In order to handle it effectively, you must always retain responsibility for managing your own expectations and defining your success. This is especially difficult for the woman highly motivated by achievement and recognition on the job.44 Women and men who choose to both practice science and engineering and have families must face reality: it is difficult to achieve both career and family success. A male scientist reported to the Committee on Women in Science and Engineering: Men, for whatever reason, generally put job ahead of family. The results are often disastrous on the family front and men regret that they did not do more with their family, both wife and children. But all this says, nevertheless, is that most people cannot excel at both. This is true for men as well as for women. Thus, addressing work-family issues is essential if companies are to achieve high retention of their employees, both women and men, who have family responsibilities. As is reported in all employment sectors, conference participants cited family issues, particularly motherhood, as a major reason that an industry women are not promoted as often as men. One conference presenter defined "a mother's dilemma": how to continue working at the exciting career she's trained for while also wanting and/or needing to spend time with her children, whether they are toddlers or teenagers, without being drop-kicked out of the race to advance and into the dead-end career zone at work.45 Other conference participants agreed that, once a woman becomes a mother, 44   Jacqueline Akinpelu, presentation at the CWSE conference, Irvine, CA, January 17, 1993. 45   Rae Ann Hallstrom, op. cit.

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--> it is nearly impossible to avoid being treated differently. This is especially true if she experiences her pregnancy while on the job. Following her return to work, frequently she is given assignments that are less desirable, those that involve limited travel, and those that involve less physical risk. To prevent negative career effects, many women are careful to time their pregnancies. One conference participant described her strategy this way, and others agreed that it was a good approach: I think it is possible to have a family in this company, but you have to time it. Wait until you get the promotion, but then don't have the children too late. You have to be careful not to advance so far, and then get knocked out of consideration because of having children. This confirms findings of a recent international study by Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn, economists at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: Only the United States fails to guarantee the right to maternity leave beyond the period of actual disability. Indeed, most other countries guarantee time off with pay for both pregnancy and care for infants. It thus seems likely that more American women are forced to choose between high-paying careers and motherhood.46 Negative career effects can extend to women who are not married and not pregnant. Women at one company spoke of interviewing for positions within the company and being asked, "Are you married?" or "Are you going to have children?" These are illegal questions, but they are being asked widely anyway. One woman reported that she was denied a promotion because she had children, and another woman in the same focus group hid her pregnancy for 7 1/2 months because she was seeking a promotion.47 Discrimination against pregnant women does continue, despite federal legislation. In fact, 46   Peter Passell, Women's work: The pay paradox, The New York Times, March 25, 1992, p. C2. 47   Arlene Johnson, op. cit.

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--> [t]hough 64% of the pregnancy discrimination claimants [in a 5-year study] worked for employers with 50 or more employees and would have been protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act [effective August 5, 1993], the remaining 36% of the women worked for companies too small to be covered.48 Women are advocating change in pregnancy and parental leave policies. Even in companies where maternity leave can be negotiated, the long-term question for women often is how to manage the pressure of the job and the demands of family. The length of the workday in industry, contrary to popular belief, is not predictable. The hours—very often beyond 40 per week—and on-the-job demands lead to what some call an unofficial competition for whose face can be seen the longest in the workplace. The energy addressed to this topic in focus groups of women of all ages in the FWI study, "Barriers and Opportunities for Women Scientists and Engineers in the Pharmaceutical and Automotive Industries," suggests that this is the pivotal issue that differentiates men's and women's career stages:49 Work-family policies [of a company] did not appear to affect recruitment, but they became very important when deciding whether to stay in a job, especially for early careerists. When survey respondents were asked, "How important is the balancing of your personal life with work?," it became very important for mid-careerists. It was 48   Sue Shellenberger, Work & family, The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 1993. In her June 11, 1993, column, Shellenberger reported, "The law . . . gives workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave with health benefits each year to care for a new child, ailing relative or one's own illness. Under the rules, a qualifying illness is any physical or mental ailment involving an overnight hospital stay or a three-day absence from work combined with continuing treatment or supervision by a doctor or other health-care professional. Also covered is any chronic condition that requires continuing medical treatment and would incapacitate the person for more than three days if left untreated." 49   Ibid.

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--> also notably important to men, much more so perhaps than many companies recognize. Women in all career stages agreed that one of the greatest influences on their career was managing maternity. Many women perceived that taking time off to have a child is detrimental to one's career, in part because becoming a mother is taken as a sign that a woman is not dedicated to her job. Younger men, in particular, concurred with this perception. As one woman in the FWI study put it, "They feel that your priorities change, so they redirect your career path so as not to invest in you for the long-term." Another female FWI interviewee said, "We have three pregnant women now in our group, and they know they will not be promoted."50 An interesting control group, or comparison, would be single-parent males and single-parent females. This could help to separate parenthood effects on career from gender effects on career. Narrow age cohorts would also contribute to an understanding of these effects since younger people, both women and men, are more sensitive to this issue. How a company addresses dependent care, whether for one's children or one's parents (often called "elder care"), can also affect its ability to retain women scientists and engineers. A recent study by DiTomaso et al.51 revealed that women with dependents had much more difficulty with dependent care than men with dependents, with one exception. Women experienced less difficulty when their spouse traveled than men did. The study by DiTomaso et al. also found a high correlation between the highest performers in the workplace, both men and women, and those who have 50   In that group, according to Arlene Johnson, there had been many pregnancies; employees said that no one had ever gotten a promotion in the 18–24 months that surrounded their pregnancies. 51   Nancy DiTomaso, George F. Farris, and Rene Cordero, "Women Scientists and Engineers: Gender Differences and a Model of Self-Assessment," presentation at the CWSE conference, Irvine, CA, January 17, 1993.

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--> preschool children, which suggests that this should be a bottom-line issue for companies. Men and women in "A Study of Occupational Departure of Employees in the Natural Sciences and Engineering," conducted by Anne Preston, were asked how they divided household chores and child-care responsibilities. Respondents, both women and men, agreed that women are responsible for about two-thirds of the household chores and child-care responsibilities. Clearly then, how to balance family and career remains more of a female consideration. What is striking is that the men and women of the sample were at much the same stages of their careers, were almost the same age, and had similar experience levels.52 An examination of the employment status of men and women in that study reveals a big difference between how men and women deal with family issues. Fourteen percent of the women were working part-time; only 1 percent of the men were. Sixteen percent of the women were not working, and a majority of them were not working for family reasons. Only 4 percent of the men were not working, and none had left because of family reasons. Women often seek flexible working arrangements. In her study, Dr. Preston found that women who held bachelor's and master's degrees were, in general, trying to establish a scientific career in industry or government. However, the women who found jobs in private industry were often stymied by the inflexibility of their companies regarding child-care issues. In particular, these women talked about an inability to obtain part-time work and flexible scheduling. Many women mentioned companies that were inflexible about their taking time off for sick children. It is seen by some that the issue is structural to employment rather than to gender. One male scientist reported to the Committee: Work [in industry] is viewed by the organization as central, and anything that interferes with it is discouraged, for both men and women equally. The driving force in work is that an organization must compete with others serving the same market. However, as will be detailed in the next chapter, many large companies have 52   Anne Preston, op. cit.

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--> found it possible (possibly advantageous) to make available part time work and some flexibility in hours. In any case, Preston's research found that, when these barriers begin to influence negatively the women's lives, they often leave the labor force for a while. When they return to industrial employment, it is often difficult to return to science and engineering, which have progressed in their absence; they begin new occupations.53 To prevent the collision of family and job commitments, women long for more flexibility. One FWI interviewee said, I enjoy working for this company, but there is no way that I will be able to devote as much time to work when I have a family. Work in this company has to be your number one priority. My management and all the people who have been successful have sacrificed their family and personal life.54 Corporate research shows that this pattern of unilateral dedication to the job and sacrificing of family interactions is found for both women and men.55 The principal problem that men and women in the FWI study reported about work-family programs was that the very companies that were touted for their "family-friendly" policies were often those where people were afraid to use the programs for fear of being penalized. Therefore, the key, as some said, is to "decriminalize" part-time work and to make job-sharing and part-time employment viable options for committed careerists.56 53   Ibid. 54   Arlene Johnson, op. cit. 55   See, for instance, DuPont, op. cit., and The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., IEEE Spectrum: Diversity at Work, New York: IEEE, June 1992. 56   Arlene Johnson, op. cit.

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--> A third work-family issue is how companies accommodate dual-career couples. According to Preston, "Many Ph.D. women are looking to private industry as a solution, particularly with regard to dual-career problems."57 They perceived industry as having more jobs, jobs that are more geographically dispersed, and jobs that do not require outside funding. Although these women saw industry as a solution, it was also a compromise. Moving to industry, as they perceived it coming out of graduate school, meant taking a less prestigious job.58 Many companies take pride in employing multiple members of the same family. However, several conference participants reported that other companies still will not hire two people from the same family. Certainly, few companies will hire two family members for the same department because it is considered, in general, poor management practice. As a result, many times, when one spouse gets an industrial job, the other must take a teaching job in a community college. It may be underutilization of the spouse, but at least it is a job, whereas there may be no chance for a second industrial job. Furthermore, competitor-exclusion rules in companies also work against dual careers. For example, if a woman is working for pharmaceutical company A, pharmaceutical company B will not hire her husband because of the possibility of their sharing competitors' secrets. In that case she is unlikely to take the job in the first place because doing so might eliminate his chances for a job and therefore reduce the family income. A man can also not take the job because doing so might eliminate his wife's chance of a job, with similar results. However, this seems to occur less frequently. Particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, there is the problem of geography. Most companies are situated on the East and West coasts. if one spouse gets a job with the only pharmaceutical company in a particular city, there often is no second company or related pharmaceutical job for the other spouse; Jane S. Allen, a toxicologist at GLAXO Inc., noted, however, that this company has "no rules forbidding employment of spouses." In engineering the situation is better; companies are more widely dispersed geographically. Being a scientist or engineer in a dual-career marriage has profound 57   Anne Preston, op. cit. 58   Ibid.

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--> effects and influences on both individuals, the marriage, and probably their companies as well. A computer scientist described her dual-career marriage—one that is without children but involves a parent who is partially handicapped—as difficult but workable and, in the longterm, satisfying. She and her husband have similar technological backgrounds. They met in graduate school and actually worked and were recruited together because of the similarities in their training. From the start the couple decided to give their careers equal priority, a decision that is probably more common at the Ph.D. level. Although they both thought their first jobs would be in academe, in fact, the academic job offers were in parts of the country or at universities where equally challenging opportunities were not available for both of them. Consequently, they began their careers in industry, something they consider to be positive today because they have gained experience in areas they probably would not have chosen otherwise. The couple has been together for about 16 years and, according to the speaker, it took probably half of that time to work out a balance where they found it easy to be in the same field. Several factors made their dual-career marriage work. First, they developed personal identities and mutual respect. Second, when the couple worked in the same place, each was direct about his or her responsibilities, work schedules, and long-term plans. Mutual cooperation, communication, and compromise were absolutely necessary. Balance between career and personal life will always be a stressful issue for women, perhaps more so for those in management because of their increased visibility and responsibility in the workplace. It is potentially as stressful for men, reported a male scientist. However, one female scientist at the conference felt that, in order to balance career and family issues effectively, [w]omen must retain responsibility for managing their own expectations and definitions of success. That is difficult to do in the corporate environment because there is a strong male-established definition of what it means to be successful.59 As regards the many corporate practices that make it more difficult for women to perform their jobs and to advance, we note that there is nothing 59   Akinpelu, op. cit

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--> inherently valid or invalid about the way companies or businesses are organized and operate; policies take on a life of their own, and because they exist, they appear to be valid. A solution for this problem, according to Strober and Jackman, would be to provide feedback to all executives, who are often the defenders of these patterns and policies.60 They could be informed of policies that undermine the capacity of women to function and to advance in the organization and of the losses to the company of employees who have the intelligence and skills to do the job but whose efforts and career paths have been hindered. As is discussed in the next chapter, considerable progress has already been made in this direction. 60   Strober and Jackman, op. cit.

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--> Sue Stuber, manager of the Large Area Silicon Array Prototyping Group at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, inspects silicon wafers for defects. (Photo: Xerox Corporation)