NWS Women and Leadership 2009 Diversity and Leadership Conference
In the Corporate World… • Women comprise about 50% of the workforce • Yet only 15% - 20% of Fortune 500 companies have females in their top two tiers of leadership
Why do the numbers look this way? • “Glass Ceiling”? • A figurative limit based on attitudinal or organizational bias in the work force that prevents women from advancing to leadership positions • Lack of women entering science careers? • Women intimidated by male dominated career? • Discrimination?
Why do the numbers look this way? • Women seeking leadership roles in the NWS must overcome many obstacles… • Stereotypes of gender roles • Leadership and Careers • Discrimination • Lack of Mentors • Obligations to family
Stereotypes - Leadership • Men • Take charge • Aggressive • Powerful • Impervious • Women • Take care • Passive • Gentle • Emotional • Past Leadership Traits • Assertive • In Control • All Business • Efficient • Present-Day Leadership Traits • Inclusive • About Relationships • Effective
Stereotypes - Careers • Men • Doctors • Meteorologists • Engineers • Physicists • Mathematicians • IT Specialists • Women • Teachers • Nurses • Interior Designers • Secretaries
Women and Science Don’t Mix • “I want to speak to a weather MAN!” • People surprised to hear woman meteorologist when they call • Project Implicit • Gender-Science Implicit Association Test • 72% Show at least some bias
More NWS Numbers Do the stereotypes dictate reality or does reality dictate the stereotypes?
Nature vs. Nurture • Are these stereotypical traits learned or born innately in us? • Our environment or the “Nurture” aspect plays a large role in what we see as “normal” • Implicit biases and stereotypical ideals can be changed…
Discrimination • Rampant in the 60s and 70s, and still prominent in the 80s and early 90s • Legislation has been passed to prevent • Equal Pay Act 1963 – equal pay for women • Civil Rights Act of1964 – prohibits employment discrimination on basis of sex • Equal Rights Amendment 1972 – equal rights for men and women • Pregnancy and Discrimination Act 1974 • Family and Medical Leave Act 1993
Discrimination • Less prominent, but still exists • Federal Government instilled diversity action plans/initiatives to monitor numbers of female employees • Subtle, almost impossible to prove • Women against women • Women in competition with other women • Male dominated fields • “Queen Bee” tries to keep other women out • Hold other women to higher expectations
No Leaders to Follow • There are women out there that have “made it”, however… • Severe shortage of female mentors • In college • Early in career • Even in high school • No cultivation of female leaders
Family and Home Life • Women bear the load of the home… • Family or career? • Shift work • Many women choose family • Mobility Issues • NWS Couples
Where do we go from here? • Stereotypes • Roles are changing…stereotypes must follow • Be mindful of those hidden biases • Discrimination • Fight the urge to become a “Queen Bee” • Avoid reverse discrimination • Become fearful of discriminating • Tend to overcompensate and end up discriminating against men • Women want EQUAL consideration, not a handout!
Where do we go from here? • Lack of Mentors • Seek out a mentor/Be a mentor • Develop formal mentoring programs • High school students • College Students • Young entry-level employees
Where do we go from here? • *Family* • Things are changing…men and women are sharing responsibilities • Women feeling less pressured to choose • Job Sharing • One full-time job shared by two people • Can help retention of employees • Can save wasted money and time spent on training • Alternative Work Schedules • More flexibility • Childcare/babysitting programs/networks
To Sum It All Up… • The “Glass Ceiling” does not apply to the NWS • Obstacles exist at every level, not just the top • To recruit and retain female employees, the NWS must • Educate young women about careers in science – MENTORS! • Be mindful of the unique obstacles facing women • Be flexible and innovative to help women get around the obstacles
NWS Female Leaders Say… • Make opportunities for yourself • Take opportunities when offered • Be a “Yes woman” • Especially early in career • Allows for the occasional “No” • Find a mentor • “You can’t be what you can’t see.” – Marian Wright Edelman • Be a pioneer • Don’t be afraid to be the first to do something
NWS Female Leaders Say… • Build relationships – network • Modern leadership principles emphasize the importance of relationships • Don’t become a “Queen Bee” • Help other women to succeed • Find ways to adapt • Science fields today are still, in general, male-dominated • Until things change, we must adapt
Resources • The 2007 NWS EEO Status Report www.weather.gov/eeo • The Leadership Lid by Anna Quindlen, October 13, 2008 issue of Newsweek www.newsweek.com/id/162265 • Women and Leadership: The Delicate Balancing Act by Hillary M. Lips www.womensmedia.com
Resources • 21st Century Women’s Leadership by ShifraBonznick and DidiGoldenhar www.thewhitehouseproject.org • Equality in the Workplace – Can Women Break the Glass Ceiling? By Nikki Katz www.associatedcontent.com • Special Thanks to: Gena Morrison, NezetteRydell, Aimee Devaris, Brooke Binghaman, Noreen Schwine, and Mike Coyne
Contact Information Brandi Richardson WFO Shreveport, LA 318-636-7345 Brandi.Richardson@noaa.gov