April 8, 2020

The subtle stressors making women want to leave engineering

Engineering paper


  • Cues that their work is less valued than their male counterparts can leave female engineers feeling burnt out. Women can stay on track by identifying internal goals.

Female retention in engineering continues to be a problem. Even after overcoming hurdles to enter the profession, women leave at much higher rates than men.

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One reason for this is that, on top of their typical work tasks, women also often feel stress related to being female in a male-dominated field. This stress can be quite overt, like when women face instances of gender discrimination or harassment; but new research shows that it can also be subtle, like when women feel that their contributions are less valued than their male peers’ because tasks and roles have been gendered. When experienced daily, this often hidden stress can become depleting. This stress increases feelings of not fitting in and make women more likely to think about leaving. Fortunately, researchers also identified important resilience strategies women can use to overcome this persistent issue.

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