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Why Do Women Leave?

A new working paper by Jennifer Hunt examines the exodus of women from the science and engineering fields, and upends some popularly accepted wisdom. Hunt finds that the gap is primarily driven by the engineering field, and that “60% of the gap can be explained by the relatively greater exit rate from engineering of women dissatisfied with pay and promotion opportunities.” Family-related explanations, which are often blamed for the gap, play a much smaller role. Hunt finds a strong positive relationship between share of male workers and excess female exits, which suggests a need for policies aimed at improving female mentoring and networks, and reducing discrimination, across male-dominated fields.[%comments]