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Isolation and alienation force women from technology positions

US corporate-training programmes aimed at retaining female researchers in technology might be focusing on the wrong targets. A report published in February examines the results of in-depth interviews with 23 women in information-technology jobs across industry, including some at manufacturers, software-development firms and an insurance company (H. Annabi and S. Lebovitz Inf. Syst. J.; 2018). The authors sought to identify challenges faced by female researchers in this field. Employers often invest in female-centred mentoring and professional development, but the study participants said that they still feel forced out by their work environment. Fifteen respondents reported feeling isolated and excluded at work, and 13 said that a male-dominated workplace causes feelings of alienation. “There’s a mismatch with these investments in training and the barriers that women actually face,” says lead author Hala Annabi, an information-systems scholar at the University of Washington in Seattle. A Pew Research Center report found that the proportion of women in computer-related fields in the United States has dropped from 32% in 1990 to 25% today.

Nature 555, 276 (2018)



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