Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
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Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Upping the Numbers

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis

Advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are key factors in contributing to future economic performance, higher living standards and improved quality of life. As dominant white males near retirement and immigration slows, developed countries face a serious skill shortage in critical STEM disciplines. This fascinating book examines why the numbers of women and minorities in STEM are low, outlines the potential consequences of this and prescribes much needed solutions to the problem.
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Chapter 4: Myths and Realities in the IT Workplace: Gender Differences and Similarities in Climate Perceptions

Debra A. Major, Donald D. Davis, Janis Sanchez-Hucles, Lisa M. Germano and Heather J Downey


4. Myths and realities in the IT workplace: gender differences and similarities in climate perceptions Debra A. Major, Donald D. Davis, Janis Sanchez-Hucles, Heather J. Downey and Lisa M. Germano It’s commonly said that perception is reality. This is certainly true in the workplace. Perceptions about the workplace represent a synthesis of one’s experiences with the work environment and with those who work in it. These perceptions guide one’s beliefs about and reactions to the workplace. We explore in this chapter the extent to which common beliefs about men and women in the IT workplace are true or not. We use the idea of myth to represent the truth of these beliefs. Myth (taken from the Greek mythos) can refer to stories describing supernatural, divine or heroic beings. Although not intended to be taken literally, this type of myth often reveals universal truths about the human condition. Myth can also be used to describe stories that claim to be based on fact but upon further and deeper examination are shown to be fictional. Pickford (1985) has noted that myths are integral to societies and tend to originate from psychological drives, which serve to arrange or obscure facts in order to protect individuals from realities that they do not wish to face. Gender myths can have a great deal of power in shaping work organizations. Acker (1998) has described gender as a group of patterned, socially constructed differences between males and females that typically subordinate women. This subordination is...

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