Women in Science

Study Takes Mystery Out of Hiring Tech Women

Monday, February 27, 2012

Practical advice on hiring women to the high-paying jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is offered in a 50-page study released today by the Anita Borg Institute. Women are 24 percent of the STEM work force.

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Knowing why women are under-represented in technical fields, (reasons include unconscious biases in the recruiting process, lack of role models and mentors, plus organizational cultures that hurt recruitment and retention) the authors look at how companies such as Intel, Cisco, Google and IBM have lowered barriers.

The Anita Borg Institute, based in Palo Alto, Calif., was founded in 1997. Its name honors the founder of Systers, the first online community for women in computing. The group encourages the development of women technology leaders.

Women make up only 24 percent of the work force in science, technology, engineering, and math. They hold some of the best-paid jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Women who hold these jobs average $31.11 per hour, compared with the $19.26 women earn on average in other occupations.

"What's really cool," says Jerri Barrett, vice president of marketing for the Anita Borg Institute, "is while everyone for years has been talking about, 'How do we get more women in technology jobs?', this report gives answers. We're sharing with the world how to recruit more women."

Barrett says companies have good reason to care about recruiting women. "If you're in a technology industry, and you're ignoring half the human race, you'll find that there are holes that are difficult to fill, and you'll sacrifice innovation and profits."


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Mitzi Perdue is a Maryland-based writer and former syndicated columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service. Her hobby is computer programming.

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