A former engineer at Facebook used data compiled over five years in a bid to prove there's a gender bias at the social networking giant against its female employees.
The compiled data shows female engineers’ code being rejected 35 percent more than males during the review process. While this alone rings some alarm bells, the fact that females waited for 3.9 percent longer on average for their code to be reviewed, and received 8.2 percent more comments, just adds evidence to the bias claim.
Facebook responded with its own investigation and concluded the rejections had nothing to do with employees’ gender, but with rank. This highlights a continued problem in many companies where higher-ranked positions are often given to males.
More work is needed to attract females into STEM careers
Part of this could be due to a smaller talent pool of female engineers. In statistics posted at the end of last year by British university admissions service UCAS, the subject with the biggest gender gap was computer science, with 13,085 more male students than female.
It’s clear more work is needed to attract females into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers, but the fields are so male-dominated they aren’t seen as being accepting. According to research by Catalyst, a leading non-profit organization with a mission to accelerate progress for women through workplace inclusion, hostile male-dominated work environments, ineffective executive feedback, isolation, and a lack of effective sponsors are factors pushing women to leave SET jobs. Almost one-third of women in the United States (32%) and China (30%) intend to leave their SET jobs within a year.
This proves to be a vicious cycle as the more women who drop out STEM careers prevents reaching a gender balance while dissuading others to pursue careers in the fields. All companies in STEM fields need to work hard to attract more female engineers and provide the right environment to thrive, rise the ranks, and inspire others into following similar careers.
Continuing with Facebook as an example, just 17 percent of its workforce are female. This is far from an issue reserved to Facebook, however, and the situation among higher ranks is even more dire. Among the top 20 technology companies, only 11 percent of executive committee members are women.
What are your thoughts on the gender divide issue in STEM careers? Let us know in the comments.
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