Californian women underrepresented in growing, high-paying industries
- Californian women are underrepresented in the state's fastest-growing and highest-paying industries, according to a report from the Center for the Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary's University in Los Angeles.
- Researchers found that fewer women than men are benefiting professionally from rapid growth in science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM) fields. Californian women who work full time, year-round earn 88 cents for every dollar men earn, and they save just 32 cents for every dollar men save.
- Additionally, 5% of full-time working women in the state — and 52% of those working part time — earned wages at or below the federal poverty level. Despite California having the most-women-owned businesses in the U.S., women make up 27% of California's top executives and just 4% of CEOs in the state's top 400 publicly traded companies, the report showed.
The report cites differences in education between women and men in STEM as one cause of the disparity, with women holding 1% of bachelor's degrees in information and computer science and 2% of engineering degrees. But a recent study from HackerRank found young women today are 33% more likely to study computer science in a degree program than women born in 1983. At the same time, women of all ages in computer science are more likely than men to be in junior positions.
California women aren't alone in facing career stalls and setbacks in technology. A study by the American Education Research Journal found that women in general often avoid pursuing college degrees in certain majors because they perceive those fields as discriminatory against women.
To date, California is among the seven states that have passed salary history bans to close the wage gap between women and men. This is, however, only one strategy for helping women break out from the career-long trap of being paid less than men for the same work. Employers must rid the workplace of unconscious bias in hiring and see that women have the same advancement opportunities as men.
Hiring and promoting more women into leadership roles has bottom-line gains for organizations. As managers and senior executives, senior women leaders can inspire other women who want to advance in their careers and send a message throughout an organization that women are skilled, knowledgeable and valued.