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UN Women says hostile work environment keep women from science

Women make up just 29.2% of all STEM workers, compared to 49.3% across non-STEM occupations. Both representation and retention of women are essential for the sectors to be more creative, innovative, and profitable, reflecting issues that matter to women, UN Women says in a statement for the International Day for Women and Girls in Science.“Hostile work environments remain pervasive and deter women’s career longevity.” 

“A 2022 study conducted in 117 countries found that one in two women scientists reported experiencing sexual harassment at work, with 65% of respondents reporting that this negatively impacted their career.”

“Partnerships and engagement that change these workplace issues represent a huge opportunity to boost women’s participation in STEM, with the private sector currently estimated to represent approximately 70% of global expenditure on science.”

UN Women says that as we head towards the UN’s Summit of the Future in September this year, including a new Global Digital Compact, we must take every opportunity to act quickly and effectively to counteract bias and discrimination.

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50% of women in tech end up leaving the force by the age of 35, many of them saying that they found their workplace to be inhospitable or that it lacked female role models, according to a recent survey by non-profit organisation Girls Who Code together with consultancy Accenture. 

“Women make up only 26% of all computing roles, and for Black and Latinx women, the statistics are even worse – combined, they make up roughly about 5% of all computing jobs,” Girls Who Code’s  CEO, Tarika Barrett recently told the World Economic Forum’s recent Sustainable Development Impact Meetings, WEF’s website reports.

Half of women say they lack female role models in tech. A third of women say they lack the same opportunities as their male counterparts. 

“And when we look at tech leadership, women make up only 5%. And if we’re talking about Black and Latinx CEOs of Fortune 500 tech companies, that number is zero”, Barrett said in an interview with WEF.

Women now make up 35% of US workers with the 10 highest-paying occupations – up from 13% in 1980. They have increased their presence in almost all of these occupations, which include physicians, lawyers and pharmacists, but for women in engineering, increase has been less encouraging, a new survey from Pew Research Center shows.

The shares of women working in high-paying engineering fields have increased by smaller margins than other high paid categories since 1980: Women make up less than 10% of sales engineers and petroleum, mining and geological engineers.

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Women remain in the minority among those receiving certain bachelor’s degrees required for some high-paying occupations:

  • Mathematics or statistics: 42% of recipients today are women, unchanged from 1980
  • Physics: 25% of recipients are women, versus 13% in 1980
  • Engineering: 23% of recipients are women, versus 9% in 1980
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