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Women’s STEM Careers in Infrastructure – From initial attraction, job recruitment, to retention and advancement

The report distills the findings from an extensive literature review, a global stocktaking exercise, key informant interviews, and five case studies in order to provide World Bank Group project teams with insights that they can use to support women’s STEM careers in infrastructure at each stage of their careers—from initial attraction to the sectors and job recruitment, to retention within organizations, and advancement to managerial and leadership roles.

WHAT ARE THE BARRIERS?

A metaphor frequently used to explain the fact that women are underrepresented in STEM careers is the “leaky pipeline.” Although girls often perform as well as or better than boys in math and science at the primary and secondary levels, they are underrepresented in some STEM subjects, particularly engineering and computer science, at the tertiary level.

Many girls who opt to study these subjects do not end up entering into related careers. Those who do often leave these careers due to dissatisfaction with the workplace culture, the lack of advancement opportunities, or the challenges presented by work-life balance and other issues.

Multiple overlapping dimensions that interact in complex ways also have an influence on women’s education, employment, and progression in STEM careers. Gender stereotypes and biases are present at all levels—across societies, in classrooms, and among families. Starting in primary school, and continuing through secondary and tertiary education, girls’ interest and confidence in STEM subjects is often shaped by social and gender norms that come into play when learning these subjects, as well as when they are choosing their careers.

During the school-to-work transition, information asymmetries and legal barriers may limit the share of young women who enter infra- structure industries, or occupy certain types of roles. Biases among employers also present barricades. Employers often hold biases about “masculine” and “feminine” work roles, as evidenced in prejudicial interview questions, or expectations about women’s future childcare or care responsibilities; this too may keep qualified women from being hired for STEM jobs.
Even when they are hired, women are likely to face additional challenges that may cause them to leave the sector. These challenges include time-intensive work pressures with limited flexibility; unwelcoming work environments; the biases of coworkers; and the risks of gender wage gaps, unaccommodating workplace facili- ties, and sexual harassment.

Finally, as they progress in their STEM careers, in addition to facing discrimination, additional institutional barriers—such as a lack of mentors, sponsors, professional networks, and quality training—can also limit the advancement of women.

Volume 1 distills the findings from an extensive literature review, a global stocktaking exercise, key informant interviews, and five case studies in order to provide World Bank Group project teams with insights that they can use to support women’s STEM careers in infrastructure at each stage of their careers—from initial attraction to the sectors and job recruitment, to retention within organizations, and advancement to managerial and leadership roles. The report is intended to underpin and expand the existing knowledge on gender equality issues, under the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP).The case studies featured form part of the insight captured in the associated report Stepping Up Women’s STEM Careers in Infrastructure: Case Studies (Volume 1). Volume 2 is composed of five case studies that describe a variety of contexts in which measures are being implemented to attract, recruit, retain, and advance women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) roles in the infrastructure sectors across Ethiopia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), North Macedonia, Panama, and Solomon Islands. The first three case studies profiled in this document focus specifically on recruitment, retention, or advancement. The remaining two case studies focus on organizations that are tackling the issue of women’s underrepresentation holistically, in each of the crucial stages of a woman’s career. The case studies featured form part of the insight captured in the main report Stepping Up Women’s STEM Careers in Infrastructure: An Overview of Promising Approaches (Volume 1). Volume 3 summary note provides a brief overview of some of the findings from an extensive literature review, a global stocktaking exercise, key informant interviews, and five case studies (featured in Volume 1 and 2) in order to provide World Bank Group project teams with insights that they can use to support women’s STEM careers in infrastructure at each stage of their careers.

Source: Document Details-Stepping Up Women’s STEM Careers in Infrastructure : An Overview of Promising Approaches (English)

 

 

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