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The Final Word by Helen Roush

Do More to Support Women Engineers

According to Pew Research Center, for women working in science, technology, engineering and math jobs, the workplace is a different, sometimes more hostile environment than the one their male coworkers experience.

50 percent of women in science, technology, engineering and math jobs in the United States say they have faced discrimination on the job because of their gender. The most common form of gender discrimination experienced by women is earning less than their male counterparts (29 percent).

According to Pew Research Center, 29 percent of women who say their workplace is mostly male report that they have been treated as if they were not competent because of their gender.

Pew Research Center states that gender discrimination and sexual harassment are seen as more frequent and gender is perceived as more of an impediment than an advantage to career success.

22 percent of women in science, technology, engineering and math jobs said they have experienced sexual harassment at work, according to the Pew Research Center. Click here for the full survey results.

According to a 2017 report from the Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, women filled 47 percent of all U.S. jobs in 2015, but held only 24 percent of science, technology, engineering and math related jobs.

According to the US Census Bureau's 2016 report, men make up 79.1% of the workforce in pulp, paper and paperboard mills industry group in the United States.

Companies should build a diverse workforce. Schools should encourage more females to enter into engineering programs and provide female role models to female engineering students.

The environment needs to be improved for women.

For companies wanting to recruit, support and retain women, a proactive approach needs to be taken and policies should be created to overcome the harassment, discrimination and hostile work environment issues that women may potentially face. Supportive environments for female engineers should be created, including better mentoring and support in leadership.

Helen Roush is Executive Vice President of Paperitalo Publications.


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