Parenting and Democracy in Contemporary Europe
Edited by David G. Mayes and Mark Thomson
Chapter 12: High-qualified women and the gendered division of domestic labour: an exploratory analysis from the field of photonics
One of the (most important) reasons why women are under-represented in certain working fields, such as science, engineering and technology (SET), is the fact that women still shoulder the biggest share of household work (Schiebinger and Gilmartin, 2010, p. 41; Stratigaki, 2004, pp. 40-41). These fields have workplace characteristics that make it hard for women to compete with male workers and to fulfil the demands associated with the ‘idealworker’ culture, which assumes that the employee has no responsibilities outside the workplace and is primarily committed to the workplace (Lewis and Humbert, 2010, p. 241; Williams, 2001, pp. 1-6). In 1999, the European Commission published a report entitled “Women and Science”: Mobilising Women to Enrich European Research that revisited the long-term concern with the under-representation of women in science in comparison with other competitive economic sectors. Since the report’s publication, a lot of effort has been made by the European Commission as well as by the EU’s member states to develop the knowledge, methods and best practices to attract and retain more women in science.
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