This article on the Quartz site, by Cynthia Tan, got me riled up.
Here’s why and think carefully about these excerpts:
“…..whatever problems women may have with the tech industry, wage discrimination isn’t necessarily one of them. New research shows that there is no statistically significant difference in earnings between male and female engineers who have the same credentials and make the same choices regarding their career”
“Also, some women don’t go into the careers their college degree prepares them for because they have less attachment to the labor market. Men and women who have intermittent labor force participation have lower earning paths for several reasons: their current skills depreciate, they don’t receive on-the-job training, and they don’t build up seniority”
“Make the same choices”? Choose to work heinous hours, not take time off when children are born, or when children are ill, or when elderly family members need care. If their partners work full-time, or they’re coping on their own, how much choice is there?
Cynthia has her chickens and eggs in a tangle
How do you enable women who are “less attached to the labour force”, to become more attached? How do you encourage skilled women into technical work when they can’t “make the same choices” as men. Perhaps their partner is making great career choices too, like moving for better opportunities, working all hours to hold down a well-paying job, or not taking 50/50 responsibility at home, because their work would suffer? Perhaps (especially in the UK) childcare costs are evily high, meaning all that investment in work yields too little to improve their quality of life.
Then there’s skills depreciation. Did you know ISC2 makes no allowance for maternity leave in time to gain enough CPEs to keep qualifications? You can, if you feel moved to do so, apply for an extension on the basis of long-term sickness. Interesting way to view spending a few months with your newborn, but it’s a symptom of the more general frowning upon leave of any kind in America and some other places round the world. Offset all this against the fact that women are overwhelmingly prevalent in low paid jobs…I wonder why?
So yes, the ones who can accommodate a prehistoric concept of the “right career choices” do Ok. That’s fine then.
Women AND men need to see more flexibility in the way work is structured, so both parties can support each other to pursue their ambitions and build a solid home base for their and their kids’ future.