Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Women in the Technical Workplace

I did say I was taking a blog sabbatical this week to work on proposals but could not pass up using some time at lunch to write this up......

The Boston Herald has an interesting piece today titled Looking out for working women. The article focuses on the work done over the past ten years at the Center for Women and Work at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. The Center is involved in a number of nationally focused programs, including Project Working WISE, funded by a $240,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Project Working WISE started in January 2006 and successfully planned and organized an intergenerational and interdisciplinary conference in April of 2007 on workplace factors associated with women's success in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Since the conference, Project Working WISE has concentrated on outreach and dissemination of results.

Here's a quote from the Herald piece:

While the median weekly wage for all men working full-time or on salary is $766, for women it’s just $614, according to 2007 data from the U.S. Department of Labor. The gap is even wider for minority women: the median weekly income for black women is $233 less than that of all men, while Hispanic women earn $293 less. And the most common job for women to have is still secretarial work.

The Herald piece also quotes project advisor board member Lisa Brothers, a professional engineer and the vice president of the Boston-based engineering and contracting firm Nitsch Engineering:

"Only 10 percent of engineers are females; we are definitely under-represented" and "there are still wage inequalities" in the industry.

The Center will celebrate its tenth anniversary on October 23rd in honor of U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas.

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