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Optical Design & Engineering

Stopping the exodus of women in science

Female scientists, engineers, and technologists exist in large numbers (contrary to popular belief) but are abandoning their chosen professions in droves. With the support of a vanguard of concerned firms, the Center for Work-Life Policy recently examined this brain drain.

The research findings show that on the lower rungs of corporate career ladders, fully 41% of highly qualified scientists, engineers, and technologists are women. But the dropout rates are huge: Over time 52% of these talented women quit their jobs. Most strikingly, this female exodus is not a steady trickle. Rather, there seems to be a key moment in women's lives -- in their mid to late thirties -- when most head for the door.

(The complete findings of the study "The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology" are contained in a Harvard Business Review special report, accessible at BrainDrain.hbr.org.)

Full article from the Harvard Business Review.