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Gender discrimination may keep women out of engineering

Despite an increase in female presence in the workplace, there are still several fields of work that appear to be mostly dominated by men. A recent study has found that to even enter these fields, most women must relinquish their feminine side while at work. However, this may mean that some women have been the victim of gender discrimination simply for seeking employment in an area of work that is not typically staffed by female workers.

The experiences of over 600 women who applied for management jobs in the field of engineering were studied by students at Michigan State. What they discovered was that women who used more masculine descriptive terms to define themselves were viewed as better candidates. Women who displayed traits that are typically viewed as feminine, such as supportive rather than focusing on achievement, were viewed in a less favorable light when it came to potential employment.

Sadly, one of the conclusions the study came to was that women may need to act more like men in order to obtain certain jobs. In fact, about 40 percent of women with an engineering degree are either never employed in the field or quit. Of those that left, roughly two-thirds did so to seek what they believed were better opportunities outside of the field of engineering. It is believed that women are more susceptible to being forced out of jobs for not falling in line with the typical male employees of the engineering field.

Fields such as science and math can be exceptionally difficult for women to break into for one simple reason -- their gender. However, past research studies have apparently put more blame on the victims of gender discrimination by implying that, if they would only act more like men, then they would be employed in their desired field. In reality, women in Michigan and across the United States are equally entitled to seek employment for whatever job they are otherwise qualified for. When women face a backlash in the form of gender discrimination, it may be possible to receive compensation through the successful litigation of a discrimination claim against their employer, whether current or former.

Source: Fortune, "When competing in a male-dominated field, women should 'man up'", Michael Casey, Aug. 14, 2014

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