Archives:Women in High Technology Industries
About the Panel Session
Women in High Technology Industries: Wescon, San Francisco, September 11, 1973
A discussion panel given at the 1973 IEEE WESCON conference devoted to women in high technology industries. The panel is composed of executives who have had personal experience with the problems connected with the achievement of improved utilization of women in managerial and professional positions within high technology industries. Discussed are the motivational forces that have to take place in industry for women to advance, the aspiration level of women, upward mobility including women in management, and various types of sexism and discrimination women encounter in the field. After the panelists finish speaking, a Q&A session followed, with participation of the audience.
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Women in High Technology Industries
11 September 1973
Wescon, San Francisco.
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Ms. Esther Williams:
My name is Esther Williams. I'm the moderator of this panel session this morning. The program is devoted to women in high technology Industries, and is the first at WESCON. We hope it will serve to raise some questions, and to show some directions that may be taken to obtain solutions to those questions.
Our panel is composed of executives who have had personal experience with the problems connected with the achievement of improved utilization of women in managerial and professional stature in high technology industries. We hope the discussion and questions session to follow will provide some how-to guidelines leading to the motivation of current management and to the woman employee training to be provided, both technical and managerial and education on all levels of all employees as to the benefit of the change of status for women.
At this time, I would like to just quickly run through the names of the persons on the panel, and then I will give you a more formal introduction of each of them. Each of them will make short introductory remarks, and then we will open the panel for questions, both among the panel members and from the audience.
Holding a BS in Chemical Engineering from Newark College of Engineering, and currently working toward a Masters in Business Administration from Golden Gate University, our first panelist is manager of quality assurance, systems measurement, and analysis for the general products division of IBM in San Jose. She has recently taught equal opportunity program classes to managers of IBM on maximizing women resources. May I present Cynthia Pruett.
The second panelist is currently compliance manager for the Pacific Telephone Company in the Bay Area, with responsibility for responding to official and employee complaints that relate to discrimination. 20 years with the Telephone Company in labor relations and line management and traffic have furnished him with a great deal of experience in motivating people in all levels of management structures. His formal education includes a BA from the University of California at Berkley in Economics. Jim Hitchcock.
The third panelist holds both a BS and an MS degree in mathematics. The former from California State Polytechnic College, and the latter from Stanford. She has worked on radar cross section studies, the analysis and development of a computer program to model scattering from aircraft, applications of scattering theory to crystals and numerical calculation of scattering by random and multi-object radar targets for Sylvania's electronic defense laboratories before joining ESL, Incorporated, where she is currently manager of information sciences department and project engineer for digital image processing studies. Our third panelist, Sandra Howley.
Fourth panelist today is Assistant Director for the Center for Leadership Development at the University of Santa Clara's Graduate School of Business. He presently designs, teaches and coordinates management and supervisory development programs at the University of Santa Clara for hospitals, municipalities and business enterprises, in addition to teaching graduate-level courses in management and communications for the university. He has provided similar programs for Peninsula electronics firms as well as the Peruvian government. He has designed and taught management development programs for minority social and economic development in Stockton and presented testimony as an expert witness to Senate sub-committees regarding the needs for managerial development by Bay Area minority small business. Dr. Tony Malo.
Our fifth panelist, who has a BA in mathematics from the University of Texas is currently a senior systems analyst in marketing for Hewlett Packard. She maintains her major credentials to justify her appearance in this panel are one, that she is a woman, two, that she is not currently in management, and three, that she has done extensive research on why women fail to achieve managerial positions. Carolyn Morris.
The sixth panelist, Alfred J. Gardner, is Assistant to the President of Lockheed Missiles and Space Company. He was in the Airforce for 23 years and retired as a Colonel and command pilot. Most of his Air Force career was in research and development activities, advanced concepts in jet and rocket engines, and he was a member of a small government team, which did pioneer work in the development of liquid hydrogen as a jet engine and rocket fuel. He participated in technical management and development of flight hardware for Gemini manned space flight program. He has a bachelor's of aeronautical engineering from New York [University] and a master's from the same university and a master of science in industrial engineering from Ohio State. He has been an active supporter of the Society of Women Engineers and participated in the Henniker Conference in 1971 and '72 and presented a paper and workshop in 1972. Alfred J. Gardner.
To conclude the formal remarks by the panel, we have Dr. Lillian Singletary, head of the electromagnetic analysis section at TRW Systems. The engineers and scientists in this group work on internal electromagnetic pulse, electromagnetic pulse analysis programs for spacecraft and missile systems. Some of the programs are directly funded contracts, and others support TRW programs. She develops theoretical models and performs numerical calculations needed to corroborate and to apply these models to practical, experimental situations. She routinely makes technical presentations to technical symposia and meetings as well as to the government and TRW personnel on electromagnetic pulse and electromagnetic pulse interactions with the Air Force, Navy, and Army spacecraft and missile systems. She participated as a panelist in Second Careers for Women at Stanford University Symposium and has been active in counseling programs for High School students. Dr. Lillian Singletary.
And we will start with opening remarks from the first panelist, Cynthia Pruett. Cynthia?
Motivation in the Workplace
I'd like to address—perhaps you might call it the motivational forces that have to take place in industry today for women to advance and what the problems are in the high technology industries. First, I should say that there really are kind of two groups of women that are working in high technology industries today, and that is number one, the small group of professionals and secondly, the group of women that come under the category of non-professionals, which could include such people as assemblers, secretaries and pre-professionals.
Now, the problems really are somewhat different for each group, and this is something that companies do have to address. A study made in the Bay Area of a number of companies that covered approximately 400,000 people showed that although there were 36% women employees in the corporations, less than 10% were in management. And the problem does become one of motivation, both from the company's point of view and from the woman's point of view.
Many times, the professionally trained woman already has some motivation factors built in. She has some expectations from her job, and particularly today, the environment is such that the media brings to the fore the fact that it is proper and right for women to have ambition when they go into industry.
The second group of women, however in my years of experience, I've found that they are quite willing to accept the positions that are offered, and in many cases, become so comfortably entrenched because of the programming that they undergo, [that they] fail to respond today when the opportunities are presented to them. It's very difficult to get them to change their thinking, so along these lines since the majority of population in most companies are the non-exempt, most of my remarks will address that particular aspect.
I think one of the things that industry must face up to, that is they must go out—they must become socially conscious and must put an effort into the schools early to get women stimulated to pursue careers that will enable them to reach whatever levels they desire. If you start out with a good background, I should say I'm fortunate since I have a degree in engineering, and so I started with a great, big positive in my favor. A lot of women do not have this, and I think that that's something that they, they will want to have and will want to develop. And industry must go out into the high schools and into the colleges with very active programs to solicit and encourage women to go into fields that have normally been traditionally called, say, male professions.
There's also internal stimulation that must be done by the corporations. It's very fine to agree that yes, we must develop and promote women, and because we have 36% women in industry, we should therefore have 36% in all ranks of management. But you have to get those career paths going. Traditionally, if you have women in secretarial fields, they must go into to jobs, say, as administrative assistants. But there are whole areas that can be explored. There are production control functions within corporations. There, of course, is the line management aspect where you find a lot of women working in assembly. There are also other areas. There are the facilities engineering, that end of the business, the maintenance areas, the security areas, the safety areas. We're finding more and more that there are jobs available there. They're higher level jobs, and women need to be stimulated to consider them, and the companies have to have very strong programs so that they can train women to accept positions in this area.
Just a couple of days ago, well, in the last week, I've talked to three women specifically, and because I am a manager and because a lot of women know who I am and they feel that, well, perhaps I have an insight as to how you do this thing once you get started, they've come to me with their problems and said, well, you know, I, I really want to consider what I should do next. And this one woman came to me. She has a degree, a teaching degree. She moved into industry and worked in a chemistry lab. Then she moved over, and now does a lot of statistical analysis and use of the terminal as an analyst. And she said, you know, I'm now in my early 30s. I know I will be working for quite some time. I really never—I've been programed not to consider a career, but she said, I've been talking to you, and I've known you now for two years, and I've finally come to the realization that I need to have something that's more stimulating to me.
I have to find a new position, and what sorts of things are open? And I said, well, have you ever considered management? And she said, yes as a matter of fact, I have, and I think I want to become a line manager. So we discussed at length some of the things she could do, but she had not, she had just not considered that as a career path because that just wasn't the normal thing to do. And now, she's enthusiastic about it. She realizes she's going to be in industry, and she wants to do something with her career.
The third area is counseling for women themselves. I guess I've gone to a couple of transactional analysis courses where the word scripting comes out, but there's no question that women are continually scripted in their life as to what their expectations from life should be and what the woman's role is in life. And this is to some measure something that has to be changed by industry itself. You just can't go out and tell women, well, now we're opening up management jobs, and come, come run for them because women aren't ready. They just mentally have to mull that over and be able to recognize that those are career paths that they wish to pursue. They've got to rouse themselves out of the lethargy that they've been in, the normal mode of operating, and accept the change because change is difficult for a man or a woman. So companies do have to have programs for women to do some introspection and to change their own motivations because after all, you really can't motivate somebody. They have to motivate themselves, and if they're not ready it's not going to happen. You will then have a number of unhappy people ultimately doing things that they really don't want to do.
And then lastly, I think companies have to continue to work with the management men, the men in position, to stimulate their working with the women because many, many women work for men, and men have to recognize that they have to counsel women a little bit differently. They have to perhaps work a little bit harder with them, work a little bit longer to overcome some of the reticence that's been programed in for so long. And by doing this will stimulate some of their own self-thoughts to get into management, or not necessarily even management, but higher-level positions. Maybe exempt positions as opposed to non-exempt.
But I guess this all sums up to the fact that you do have to have rather aggressive programs on the part of addressing career paths as well as on the part of addressing the motivations of women that are working. Thank you.
Our next panelist is Jim Hitchcock from the Pacific Telephone Company.
Good morning. As Esther said a little earlier, I'm a compliance manager for the Bay Area for Pacific Telephone. I've been asked to talk about training. My orientation is really more toward complaints—specific complaint investigation, and compliance with the law. So I'm problem-oriented, I guess you'd say. And it seems to me the problem is upward movement, upward mobility for women.
The telephone business has traditionally been dependent upon top level managers developed from within the business. Most of those at the top started in craft jobs, and some came in at the first level of management directly from college. It's consistent with our past practice and with the current law, by the way, that women should advance to all levels. We're different from many businesses, and some of those that are represented here today, in that we have a rather large pool of women who have been in the telephone business for a long time, who've developed and shown what they could do on the job.
The problem of upward mobility for women in my company is largely to do with the preconceptions men and women have about the role of women. Women's view of themselves often is limited by short-term objectives and low-level career goals right at the beginning. Women's stereotypes about themselves are just as damaging as the stereotypes men hold about women. And women tend to use other women as models, and they shouldn't limit their role models to other women.
Once women are committed to the job of advancing through the lines of organization in a company like the Telephone Company, we have the job of making sure that they have that opportunity, and that's where my particular role fits. There's a tremendous advantage to the company in doing that, too, because these women, as I said earlier, have a—are a tremendous resource pool. They know what the company operates like. They know how to get things done. How many secretaries are running a department? I hesitate to tell you.
The track record of women as successful employees indicates that they have potential that's never been fully tapped. But the tools that are available to us are really the same tools that have always been used to develop male managers in the business. There isn't a training course that's going to do it. The tools include some of the kinds of things that I might mention. Basically, it's an assurance that there is equal access to things like the training programs, and those include technical programs, mainly. The equal access to assessment programs, to appraisal systems that identify areas of weakness and strength, and result in specific remedial action, generally that taken by the employee herself or himself.
One of the most important things in a management development program is lateral movement. Not promotion, necessarily, but movement from job to job to gain a breadth of experience that builds a basis for promotion to the next higher level. And that's available, and it doesn't have to mean moving into 10 or 11 different cities in a period of as many years. It can mean moving in the same place from one job to another, and it is a growth experience, and it's the kind of testing period that creates the pool of promotable managers that we're talking about.
And of course the opening up career paths to women in all categories of jobs. Career counseling was mentioned here before. The affirmative action results are something that can be monitored and help to keep those paths open. And by that, I mean if your company, like mine, has evaluation systems for managers, affirmative action is one item that should be in that evaluation program. By affirmative action, I mean the development of people, of women and minorities to promotable status. In other words, the manager's pay should be affected by whether or not he does it.
We don't think that we can change attitudes. We've tried a couple of times unsuccessfully, but we do think that we can influence behavior by the kind of visible payroll appearance of a response to success, whatever terms you want to put that in. A mechanical thing, a simple mechanical thing, is to be sure that women are actually considered for all jobs, that they're in a source pool, that the source pool is identified, that it's available for a compliance officer like myself to come in and look at. And that we're trying to do. We are doing. And again, of course, desexing all jobs in the minds of the supervision and in the minds of the potential women candidates is, is absolutely essential.
Now we have men helping to desex women's jobs by moving into clerical. Sctually, there've been I think as many women—or rather, as many men moving into clerical and operator jobs as there have been women moving into what were traditionally the craft jobs, the male, quote, male jobs. Well the impact of this thing is a humanistic one, of course in one respect, and we think that it's just plain right to judge people as individuals and abolish labels and stereotypes. But there's a reward for industry, too, and I feel personally that the diversity of human talent that is available through expanding this source of management to include all people, is one of the things that can keep the telephone business and any business vital, active, changing, up with the times, and still in business.
Thank you, Jim. Now, we're going to hear from Sandra Howley from ESL.
Good morning. I think already you've begun to see a couple different themes start to develop here, even though this is unrehearsed, and none of us have ever talked about these subjects together, as far as what we were actually going to discuss today. And one of the themes that I think is going to be very apparent is that the very basic problem is the aspiration level of women. I think that our society actually programs women to arrive at the point of adulthood with very low aspirations, and many of the things that we're discussing today have to be directed toward changing the different affects of society that have this kind of impact.
So I'd like to quickly summarize what I think are some of the different ways that society functions to actually reduce a woman's ambitions. Perhaps the most equal treatment that a woman ever receives in her life in the society in this country is in the first two years of her life. It's quite clear that by the time she's four or five years old, she has been strongly influenced already in certain career directions. That may seem kind of strange, but it is true that, that boys' and girls' roles are very well differentiated by the time they actually start school. So there's a certain kind of imprinting that goes on very, very early, and it's very subtle, but it's something that's going to have to be changed because it, it begins already to reduce the number of women that will follow certain kinds of career opportunities. And of course we're not interested today in getting all women to move into technical areas or all women to take over areas that men have traditionally been in, but only to really removing the roadblocks that have limited women's ambitions.
So first of all, she receives this early imprinting at home. Then of course she begins her school career. It's, I think, well known by most of you that there is a lot of stereotyping that's reinforced in our public school system. An interesting survey of junior high school teachers included the question, what attributes do you assign to a good male and a good female student. Now, this is for junior high school. I'd like to read to you a few of the adjectives and see if you have any—feel any confusion about which list was which.
Active, adventurous, aggressive, assertive, curious, energetic, enterprising, frank and independent. Or the other list, appreciative, calm, conscientious, considerate, cooperative, mannerly, poised and obliging. I don't think very many of you thought that the first list was describing the girls. You might notice that there is a high correlation between the attributes that our school teachers feel the boy students have and the attributes that most of us would say are important for any kind of position of responsibility. I don't think many of us expect our leaders to be calm, mannerly and obliging.
The attitudes that our teachers have do very strongly affect the students. There really is no question of that. It's still true that the majority of junior high school girls, when asked what career do you expect to follow, what do you expect to do when you grow up, that sort of question, will say one of the four areas: teacher, secretary, nurse or mother. And that, that is still true to this day. It's beginning to change, but it's still true. Those are precisely the areas that the teachers are reflecting, and it's precisely what the students are learning in the literature.
We're all familiar with the grade school idea of the American family, which is the active father, the domestic mother, the older brother and the little girl who's following her mother around in the kitchen. So, there's a lot of stereotyping that is continued and reinforced in our schools.
If a girl gets through our public school system, she's going to find that she still encounters problems in the university. This, I think, is the area that's beginning to change the most rapidly. It's well-organized. It's an area that that industry can have an effect on. But it's still true, and that if a woman wants to get into the technical fields many of the schools will very much limit the number of women that they'll allow to even be admitted to their courses. If a woman does get into some of these areas, she finds it's harder to remain there. More is expected of her than it is of men.
And finally, as she completes her college education and still is interested in a career, none of these things have reduced her ambition, then she finds that she has another conflict that's going to go on probably the rest of her life, and that's with resolving the problems that come from trying to pursue a career and trying to lead a normal family life. And this is something that again, the general education is going to have to change. Something that the attitudes of the of the public and certainly the attitudes of the men are going to have to change.
In order for a woman to remain married and to really be active in her career, her husband has to be supportive of her. The conflicts are just too deep otherwise. She's very apt to give up her career. In fact, I think the most common thing is that a woman does give up her own ambitions and her own desire for fulfillment for the pressures that her family and her husband and her society put on her.
So that's sort of what I see as some of the answers to the question how does society program women for secondary roles. Now, before I try to address a few positive things that I think industry in particular can do, I'd like to say why I think it's necessarily that something be done. A lot of people will still, even at this day, say, well, that's maybe true, but it's worked out fine in the past, after all. Why should it change? And I think it's important that we begin to emphasize the reasons why it must change. It's not really a question of choice any longer.
The society has changed so much, and, and in particular the pressures or technology and of population have eroded away the traditional role of a woman. It's no longer possible to receive the respect of your community, to receive the status that women in the past received from, for instance, having a large family. I think we're already at the point that many women are going to start to feel that there is an inverse amount of status, and it's inversely related to the number of children she has.
In the past, a woman was a very necessary economic partner to her husband. She often worked and performed hard physical labor, and she certainly had a full time job in maintaining her home. But technology has made that no longer the case. It's not necessary for a woman to devote her full energies to maintaining her home. The free time that she's gained from these advances in technology have not, in general, caused her to find other creative solutions, perhaps, to society's problems. Instead of being a contributor, now she's becoming, in the main, a consumer. And it's important to be a consumer. We need a lot of consumers. It's a fun role to be a consumer, but there's no status connected with it, and there's no sense of fulfillment.
So we now have a huge number of people in our society that are sincerely looking for a way to make a contribution, and I don't think there's any way to reverse this trend. We've got to find, we've got to encourage women to make a contribution. And of course, as will be pointed out by everyone here today, the key to changing a lot of these factors in society is certainly education. Rather than address what industry can do internally, I'd like to address some of the things I think that can be done to effect the general attitudes of the public because without effecting these, the high technology industries are going to find there simply are not enough women to even begin to develop.
The first area where industry can have an effect, I think, is on the attitudes of our local communities. I think that industry should begin to make sure that all the activities of the women in their country are well-publicized. We should start letting the mothers and fathers of young children know that there are active career women in their local neighborhoods. That women are filling challenging positions very successfully. This will help change some of the early imprinting that our children are receiving even previous to school.
And of course as has been mentioned already, we need to start interacting with the local school systems. This has been done for quite a while, but it needs to continue to be done. It's especially important that we make sure we're contacting not just the students, but the teachers and counselors. The stereotypes that they still are holding and are passing down to the students must be broken down.
And finally, I think that we can have a very strong effect on that last step in a woman's educational career at the university. Many of our companies already recruit directly on campus, and we can make it quite clear that we are looking for qualified women, that women have equal opportunities and have the potential for very challenging careers. I think by doing that, we'll find that many universities will actually begin recruiting women for some of their technical departments. Thank you.
Thank you, Sandra. One of the things I hope some of this publicity may do is to encourage young women to believe that engineering is a lot more fun than a lot of the other careers they could choose. Our next panelist is Dr. Tony Malo.
Women in Management
Dr. Tony Malo:
I think I heard the magic word, university. And since my colleagues have pretty well started to light the way, what I'd like to share with you this morning is a model that is really bare bones, but it, I believe, addresses itself to the kinds of situations that have been mentioned and will be mentioned. And I believe that in our industry, we are particularly well-directed, and I think particularly well-programed for innovation. As a matter of fact, as you well know, the electronics industry has been for years noted and defined as the growth industry of our country.
Jim has mentioned that there is an extremely large pool of human talent that has not yet been tapped in our industry. Well, how do we do this? How do we go about making better utilization of our human resources? And specifically, women who are potential managers. Well, let's take a look. Perhaps it means doing a number of things. First, setting the climate. This is an organizational part. This not outside the organization. Just talking about inhouse.
Identify potential managers. Identifying organizational managerial needs, and then adapting the organization’s environment to these needs. Well, what, what can we do in setting the climate? One of the suggestions is making a clear and genuine commitment to involve women in positions of managerial responsibility. Identifying potential managers. Conducting a thorough organizational appraisal to identify potential managerial talent. A corporate audit directed toward the location, the identification, the assessment of potential managerial talent. And then looking about and identifying and projecting the organization's managerial needs. Not today only, but in the next three to five years.
Who is that group? Who are these individuals that we're concerned with? Well, typically we believe that in, in our industry, there are a relatively large number of women college graduates who have had no business administration training. They're potentials. Let's look into it. Let's find out what's going on. What are some of their aspirations? What are some of their abilities? How can we do something as managers?
Secondly, for women employees in non-management positions who show supervisory potential. Is it necessary for someone to come and say, you know, I'm interested in management? Shouldn't we have a rapport established so that we know this without having some kind of a formal meeting? And women employees currently in supervisory positions who show growth potential. And that, I believe, is the old performance. We talk about it. Hopefully we're chosen because of it, and I think that this has not changed. But performance is the ultimate in achieving any kind of success because you can say, I've done it, and here are the results. It isn't something that I'm giving lip service to.
And two areas that somehow in our industry are being touched upon increasingly, but I believe not quite enough: Mature women outside the company who wish to resume their careers. The women who have left, who have had their children grow up and who are very productive kinds of people who can come back and do a job. And then the fifth source, I believe, are new college recruits. I think that this is an area that is very difficult to stop. It will happen, and it will happen increasingly because we will need more, and we do need more, all right?
Now, let's look at this a little more realistically. This is the program. We're talking about formal training programs. We're talking about personal coaching. We've talked about and some of my colleagues have mentioned the rotation of job assignments and special project assignments. Serving on committees, special stretching assignments.
But now, what do we expect from this? Realistically? Managers should not expect a complete change in personality or character. You're not rebuilding anybody. And the degree of mastery of new managerial techniques varies in direct proportion to the time the person's on the job. Let's wait and see. Let's give them a chance to get their feet wet, we say to the young person coming in the door. And how about the impacts of personal development programs and how this will effect their peers and their colleagues on the job?
Now, the development programs and the various dimensions suggest a certain amount of flexibility in thinking, and that also implies that to make these changes work, we have to believe, or at least consider, that most companies can be managed much better than they are now, that the change in organization and the competitive environment requires different and more advanced and broader management skills. And that encouragement of personal growth and improved performance must be part of the job of the manager. Just as he is required on a project basis to develop new instruments, develop new techniques for doing things, is it not reasonable to expect that his responsibility will involve the development of all his subordinates?
Thank you, Tony. And our next speaker is Carolyn Morris of Hewlett Packard.
Ms. Carolyn Morris:
There are a couple of questions I would like to bring out. The first question is something that was put to me a couple of weeks ago when I was standing on my haunches and saying that women should be considered a little more favorably as far as management positions at Hewlett Packard. And that was why should we consider women? Why should we take the time and the money, and what makes you sit there and say that we should really invest all this in you? And if we have equally qualified men, why should we worry about women? That's a question that I think most women don't really stop to consider and answer for, and it kind of takes you by surprise because you're so fired up, and you believe that you're so great, that it should be obvious to everyone, but it isn't.
And especially when the question's coming from a man, and he's a manager and you're not, it really kind of takes you back. So I decided to do some digging around, and came up with some of the same statistics that Tony just mentioned, and that is due to the growth of labor and industry and also due to the influx of women in industry, that sometime around the 1980s, we're going to be running out of men who are qualified to be managers and who do have the leadership responsibilities. And so what we need to do is to start finding a substitute. If people don't want to call it a fair shot, and I think probably a pretty good substitute and a pretty good place to start is to start training your women.
I would like to say that I'm not concerned about all women, really, because there are varying types, and I don't want all women to leave their families and give up their homes and give their kids away and all this kind of thing and rush right out into a profession. But I am saying that for those women that do this, for those women that say, well, I don't really want to get out in business. I'm perfectly content to stay at home and take care of the family and the husband and the two-and-a-half kids, the station wagon and all this, I think that's fine. I think that's as hard a profession as any of us have.
But for those of us who do want to get into industry, and we feel that we're just as capable of executive positions as anyone else, then I think we deserve a fair chance. And somehow, we have to go about convincing people of this. I'm not really talking about discrimination. I think all of us know what discrimination is, and we have some new legal backing that's going to help tone this down. I really believe that if discrimination had been done away with yesterday, we wouldn't be any further today because we, as women, simply have not developed the attitudes that it takes to get going and to go in and prove ourselves as such.
I think that we have a big job to do, and it is concerned not only with reconditioning ourselves, which is pretty tough, but it has to do with, with reconditioning all those people that work around us. And I think each one of us, if we were to stand back and say, what have we done today to reinforce some kind of a sexual role type of thing, I bet we could all come up with pretty good examples.
It's not only on the part of men. It's equally on the part of women. A lot of women that go into industry, and high technical industries are certainly no different. The thing about high technical industries is for some reason it has a reputation that when women get into there, they can really go to the top. After all, you're high paid. You know, you can win those positions. Well, all of us are high paid in technical industries. Obviously. We have worked a great deal to get degrees and to become what we are as professional women. But there's a lot of professional men.
The question becomes, if we are considered professional when we are hired in along with our male counterpart, we may be paid the same. We may not, but in three years from now, are we going to be progressing as far as he is? Are we going to be then on an equal level as far as salary and title? And this is where I think we start falling short.
Sex Role Conditioning and Expectation
When we talk about sex role conditioning, which is what psychologists call it, and I think an interesting point that was made, was a study that was on psychologists and psychiatrists, both male and female, of patients who come in they came to the conclusion that—they listed all the characteristics. Most of them were like the list that Sandra gave as far as children were concerned. You have the nonaggressive and the noncompetitive and so forth. All of these particular attributes were given to the healthy female, and the aggressive and the competitive and the adventurous, all of these attributes were given to the healthy male.
But if you were to look at the other male scale, you would find that all the attributes that were given to man were classified as the unhealthy male, or the immature adult. So you see, in order for us to be mature women, we really have to be immature adults. This has to change because obviously the woman that strikes out on her own has to put up with not only flack from her peer group, possibly from her managers, certainly from her parents if she's just starting out and getting into an education, but she also has to put up if she decides to go for professional help, she has to put up with a psychologist that's going to be saying, the reason you're not succeeding in this is because you're an unhealthy female because you're aggressive. So these attitudes have to change not only on a professional level, but on our particular levels ourselves.
Now, the point is we have to go about changing these ourselves. We can't wait for industries to do this. And when it turns out that you're the only female in an executive meeting, and they say, would you mind going and getting a Xerox for me, Ms. Whatever. Why? You know, if you're not the closest one to the door, then why don't you ask someone else to do it? The point is also that if you are the closest one to the door, don't let your paranoia get up so that you stand there and make a big deal of it. I think women defeat themselves just as quickly by overreacting. So we're kind of caught in a bind of seeking a happy medium here as far as what we determine is a realistic request and what isn't. Likewise, I think that one of the problems we have as women in industries who are considered professional women, is that they are not treated,—I don't want to say not treated like a man because I don't want to say I want to be treated like a man, but not evaluated in the same way.
Now, if you go into a job, this job should be clearly defined, its objectives and what you should be doing in this job is defined, whether you're a man or a woman. It should make no difference. And if you accomplish those goals and, and do what's set out, you should be rewarded the same as your male counterparts. This simply is not done. A lot of times, you are expected to act a certain way. When you're expected to act that way, you will act that way. If a woman is expected to fall apart and not cope, more than likely she will fall apart and not cope, the same as a man, the same as a child.
A lot of times, companies do not take the chances of putting a woman into management because they are so convinced that she will fail. What has to be done is they have to take chances, and there has to be this kind of idea that if I put a woman in this position, that she's going to make it. Otherwise, she's going to read it right off your face that you expect her to fail, and she will more than likely turn around and do it. Or what she'll do is she'll take the I'll show him, by God, type of attitude, and what has she done? She turns out being a guy. You know? And so all the men accept her, and they say, well, oh, Martha's a pretty good manager. She's just like one of the boys, you know?
What have you gained? What have you gained? You've gained your managerial position, but you've lost most of the battle because you're no longer a woman, and that's what we have to maintain. We are just as good as the rest of the people if we just be ourselves, but it's learning this happy medium. I think industry has to learn to evaluate us equally, to somehow put us in positions where we can rise to the occasion. I think that is an excellent motivation for women.
I think that industry needs to take more chances, and I think as far as women are concerned there's all the reputation that follows, that women convince themselves that they are really in good positions, when they are not. And they will go on, and they will find that they are stagnated as far as rising to certain positions of management. They'll quit, and they'll go to another company. So what happens is industry looks at your resume and says we have a job hopper. Statistics show that—a number of the statistics—that people take in saying, well, women just don't stay on jobs that long, if they really looked into them, they'd find that the reason they don't stay is because they can't go anywhere once they're in a job. So there should be growth plans that are set up in companies so that women can follow through. They don't have to spend a year at this job and a year at this job and so forth and do this job hopping.
For those women that are married, some companies now are setting up daycare centers. Why should a woman, if she wants to pursue a career, and she also wants to have a family, why shouldn't she have these facilities provided? There's also some companies that are looking into flexible hours because obviously if a woman wants to combine both, then she needs to have hours that she can work, and still take care of the family matters at hand. So I think these are great steps that, that companies are looking into. But the problem of female development, I believe, is a problem for all of us because we're not really talking about female. We're talking about people, and I think as soon as we can convince everyone that, the sex war is really passe we're people, and that's what we're concerned about. People being motivated and people getting a job done. And we say this is the job. I think you can get out there and do it. I think that's when you're going to see women get out there and do it. Thank you.
Thank you, Carolyn. Our next speaker is Mr. Alfred Gardner from Lockheed.
Prejudice and Barriers
Mr. Alfred Gardner:
Sometime ago, I was invited to present a paper on the general subject of women moving into engineering management positions, and as part of my preparation for that paper, I distributed a rather lengthy questionnaire to quite a number of my associates, and by coincidence, a couple of them happen to be in the room right now, comprising of women technical, nontechnical, administrative, men both in technical and nontechnical positions, some of our vice presidents, chief engineers, etc. And I'd like to tell you something of the cross section of answers to a number of those questions, which apply to the subject at hand.
About a third of them were designed to determine what prejudices exist in the executive engineering ranks, and to try to describe them, if possible. Interesting that most of the men acknowledged discriminatory practices as a difficult barrier for the aspiring women. It's also interesting that most, though not all, denied strong personal prejudice, but saw it in the world around them, and blamed it on customs in society. And all of the women claimed discrimination exists, based on their own observations and experience. And I think we could expect that.
One of the questions was, what criteria, characteristics or other factors have influenced your nomination and selection of people to move into management positions? I'm sure you recognize how difficult a task is represented by this question. We've all see excellent people at one level promoted to mediocrity at another level. That's due to the subtle differences and key requirements for successively responsible jobs. Numerous elements of consideration were suggested, and I regard them sort of as variables of the partial differential equation and various orders and unknowns. However, I think there are definitions on which can agree, and I'll discuss some of the suggestions.
The overwhelming opinion was technical competence. That includes a good basic education and continuing upgrading as technology evolves. I've heard it said in our company, for instance, that the half life of an engineer is approximately ten years. Allied to technical competence is knowledge of the job, under which must be grouped the objectives of the enterprise, your customers, how you use your resources, functional management relationships and the basic organization.
Another factor receiving near unanimous endorsement was demonstrated supervisory capacity and leadership. These covered skills like effective communication techniques, knowing how to delegate, decision making ability and judgment, motivating and understanding people including the customer and your own organization, and problem-solving ability, whatever you might describe that as. Many personal items were mentioned, including the physical and mental stamina, the stability of the individual, the demonstrated loyalty both to the component organization and the overall organization. Self-help and improvement as evidence of desire to progress. Ability to command respect and credibility as an individual. Professional, management and other skills, and whether the promotion in question is a logical next step in the individual's career.
I'd like to give you a quote from one of our senior technical people. He said, first of all, they must be visible. I perceive they have skills of broader, non-parochial vision. They have desire. They tend to be good communicators. They tend to convey trustworthiness and strength of convictions. They tend to have good judgment, and I perceive them to be gifted with leadership (whatever that is). That's his quote. I trust their moral judgment and tend to like their moral philosophy. This man is someone I respect and admire, and regardless of what you may think of his answers, if women are going to progress into responsible positions, this man is typical of the type of individual you must impress to get the promotion.
The next question was, what are the toughest problems facing a woman engineer who aspires to a management position? The primary answer was overwhelming—the conditioned bias and antiquated views of males. I think that women engineers and other technical women would tend to see this problem reflected in virtually all male technicians or technical people. I'll trip over the word engineers here because I was dealing with so many engineers at the particular time.
For as many of the males recognized it much more clearly in other males than in themselves, almost all agree that it will be overcome by increasing the number of women in technical jobs, and by acceptance through performance by those women who do succeed and especially as managers. A related and commonly stated answer was the problem of convincing top management that women deserve opportunity, consideration and acceptance because they are qualified. I think that this problem will automatically disappear if you eliminate the conditioned bias we have been talking about as our younger male managers move into top executive positions.
Additionally, women must establish the credibility of their intentions by convincing management that they are breadwinner-type employees and destroy the myth that women are temporary employees, regardless of length of employment. And I'll belabor the obvious by adding we need to get rid of the idea that women are not technical, not managerial, not mechanical, etc.
Let me tell you about two interesting answers. The first probably applies to any pioneer and unique achiever. Recognizing that women in technology will be in the minority for many years to come, one person contended, and it was a woman, that the woman manager's biggest problem will be maintaining a balanced perspective about herself. I'm not certain the magnitude of such a problem, but it could be real, and in large measure, it can be avoided by preparation or successive promotions.
The second unique comment also came from a woman. She stated that you probably run into husband, boyfriend ego problems if your advancement and achievement exceed his. I agree with that possibility, but I'm not sure I want to admit it. The next question is what advice would you give a young woman engineer early in her career who seeks your advice on how to work into a management position. The most common and basic recommendation was prove your technical competence and stay current in the technology of your field, and be willing to work hard. This would include making yourself visible through achievement and willingness to take on tough and unpleasant tasks. I heard those same words put differently just a few minutes ago.
The natural consequence should then be the convincing of your peers and superiors that you can and will perform. A number of comments referred to being able to take it in the course of the natural rough and tumble of groups that arrive at technical solutions to concepts, designs, test programs, specs, you name it. One individual summarized it well, by urging that you must be sure you want a career, and be willing to follow it with devotion and ability to overcome discouragement.
Continued education in related skills was often mentioned. This would include training in skills associated with leadership, communication, business, finance, marketing, labor practices. Also related would be learning to make decisions and recognizing that some will be wrong, as well as developing the emotional maturity and stability to take on responsibilities that affect the lives of your associates. Some felt that careful choices of field, company and even boss are necessary, and that the career plan should be known to one supervisor.
I've seen this kind of situation work in reverse, as I'm sure many of you have, where the young, ambitious worker is regarded as a threat. Women probably occupy a special status under our current ideas in society in this regard. Therefore, your advertised goals and aspirations need careful and deliberate planning and must be tempered with a good personal image, tact and understanding of the circumstances in which you work. Good planning objectives and consideration of flexible alternative to your goals is also highly recommended.
Various peripheral recommendations were made such as avoiding special favors based on sex, participation in professional societies, help your boss get promoted. That's a good rule any place. Care in personal appearance and actions. In general, the recommendations can be summarized into knowing what you want to do and why you want to do it, preparing adequately, planning carefully, and working hard and evaluating your progress in terms of yourself and the environment in which you are working.
These are sort of platitudes as each is a very difficult task in itself. However, they are the general framework on which my colleagues' specific recommendations have to be hung. I'd also add that the woman in the technical field, like in many others, must excel and stand out across the board to a marked degree greater than her male counterpart, if she's going to beat him to the finish line, and then she may still need a few lucky breaks currently.
The last question is what changes must occur to ensure impartiality of treatment of women in technical management. Similarity to the previous question was intentional, because I believe the difference is critical to the subject at hand. The earlier question was aimed as identifying problems. I wanted to focus attention on possible ways to solve the problems. The problems identified earlier are seen reasonably well by both men and women engineers. However, I have a feeling changes that must occur probably are known more definitely and consciously by women. And I think we saw evidence of that this morning.
They are one of the key indicators as to how we proceed, and I know I'm by no means anywhere near the first one to understand that. Once again, the unanimous primary answer was the necessity for attitude changes, it starts with making the male community recognize their attitude and what it costs them and getting them to understand what is called the non-conscious ideology. It should be followed by affirmative action that is positive and flexible, the war of the sexes might eliminated one problem and substitute a worse one, or cause resistance based on resentment and fear, and that would discourage progress.
A second answer was to increase the supply of eligible and qualified women. The effect of such an increase is obvious. The obstacles are many, and they don't all lie with the attitude and habits of the male community. We must promote the idea that the technical woman is not a point off the curve to be regarded with curiosity and dismissed as sort of a transient data point, but she's a common, everyday member of the normal technical labor market. Companies like mine live on that market.
Finally, many responses recommended company management action. These included willingness to experiment with changes of labor and management practices, and where possible, to solve the problems with a changing mix or with what a changing mix of technical personnel would bring. They also included the necessity to establish meaningful affirmative action programs, to provide communications and actions which would educate all concerned to the needs, the possibilities and the realities of the circumstances of the situation.
Within the time and talent framework that I have available, this is how it is in our large and reasonably representative company.
Q & A
Does anyone in the audience have a question they'd like to ask?
Note: Due to the placement of the microphones, audience questions are very difficult to follow, though the panel’s responses are clear. However, it is not always clear which panel member is responding.
Female Audience member:
I think each one of you said that the orientation of the boy and girl when they're young and still - - Well, I happen - - to be - - intelligent as anybody of my counterpart and for 22 years, I worked in the technical field, very technical field and believed this. And I noticed two things - - technical librarian, I finally got tired of fighting the world and I had - - and 22 years of engineering experience to allow me to do this. I think many of us, and I'm sure that must be what the pioneers - - have all been the one woman in several hundred men in my field. And through the years, I've had my reasons to believe I was accepted as good as my counterparts in the male world. But once I began to think this I was truly knocked down that I was not, and became a technical librarian. But because of the movement we’ve been talking about, women will now be able to get into this world it will be better for the upcoming generation .
You may want to change your mind again.
I think I may.
May I make a comment as a compliance manager? You're talking right, you know, down the line that I've worked, and revised order four is on the books because there is discrimination. There has been discrimination. And there are now laws that you as an individual can resort to, to correct some of the problems. I'm not trying to be a traitor to my class but I certainly would investigate the statistics of the management team in your business and if you are seriously a candidate for that, I'd discuss with them the statistics that you know about and your potential referral to FEPC or EEOC or whatever. You have that right.
I think that many of us over the years have run into the same problem, but we've met them maybe in different ways. I sort of met them by whenever I went into a organization, sort of forming my own company within the company, so to speak. And this was one way of getting around some of the manager problems. Also by becoming very widely known throughout the company, which means that your manager can't quite behave in the ways he might have behaved otherwise. But each of us does have this same sort of problem, and as I said, have had to find our own ways of meeting it, and have found our own roadblocks all the along down the line.
Female Audience Member:
I found that it was not top management that I had problems with. It was the immediate supervisor who knew - - currency, you always hire, but thought what the matter wit a woman goes into this type of work. You know, who wants to work for someone directly who has this attitude about you, whether it was true or not. ?
Well, I think that's one of the reasons I formed my own company, in effect, so that the person directly above me would sort of have to leave the group alone. It's a preventative motion.
Of course, you weren't competing at that time with top management either.
No, that's true. Yes.
Female Audience Member:
I think one of the serious things that women should consider at this point where there are a variety of jobs is to jump companies because oftentimes when you have built in prejudice within your own company, but with your experience, you can go to another company, higher step than you could make on your own.
I always felt that I was rather lucky, in, in a way because I had rather spectacular opportunities to prove my expertise. Sometimes a sense of drama goes a long way.
Qualifications and Promotion
May I ask a question? I was listening to Mr. Gardner from Lockheed and the lists of qualifications. Most impressive. I was wondering if the men that are promoted to management have those same qualifications.
I'm not sure if I'm being baited or not, but as I pointed out, the answers represented a composite of all of the answers that I got back. Now, as to whether this is true in real life, I, on the basis of my ability to judge the managers I see about me, I'd say that in a large percentage of the time, yes, and I think because we have such a wealth of material to draw on. And for instance, in tune with executive order four, we have found it necessary on selection panels to emphasize something that is almost un-American and un-apple pie, that qualification for the position is all that's required, and if somebody is four times qualified and somebody else is three times qualified, we don't eliminate the person who is qualified. But it's a very difficult process. We've all been trained to strive and be first and get the most and be the biggest, and, and I'm sure that must be a problem in your company. And it is part of the backlash where the man says, well, my qualifications are superior to his. Why did you choose him? And oftentimes, the superior qualifications are not needed on the job at all.
Well, I really have a little different view because I still think we're in a position to promote the most qualified individual. I think we honestly do that. We're going to promote many, many women, and in proportion to their existence in the source pool. I listen to the backlash all around me. You know, you get it every place you go, and I think it's a bunch of nonsense. Women are just as, as capable and can be measured by the same yard sticks in terms of their actual achievement when given the opportunity. So I don't apologize to any white male who claims that he is being discriminated against on the basis of anything that's happened yet in industry.
I have a hard time, honestly, believing that management males are promoted by the criteria that we're suggesting for superwoman simply because there are a number of failures around. What I'm advocating, I suppose, is an opportunity for women to have an opportunity to fail. They will.
Yes, something I noticed was true. I don't think we touched on it, but I felt like it isn't so much true in here because of Executive Order Four. It gives a man a reason to promote a woman today or give her some unusual opportunity, but I seem to recall that when a good fortune would befall a woman, that quite often then the other fellows would start accusing, maybe just in a form of teasing, the man who did it, as though he had some really personal relationship with this woman. And that would happen time after time in many situations I know of so that he almost would not give a woman an opportunity because he wouldn't want to take the razzing the guys would give him.
Well, that's one of the practical aspects of how you fight this whole situation. I think all of us have had to come up with some answers to many of the cliché questions that get thrown at us, and sometimes it's a good idea just to sit down and think, well, everybody keeps asking; you'd think you'd get bored with them after a while. You have to have a ready, quick response. And if some of them feel that you're being a traitor, shall we say, if you become ambitious. I pointed out to some people I know the other day that if I didn't love men, I wouldn't be in this business at all.
We're not here because we dislike men, and we're not asking for promotion or advancement because we dislike men. That's not the case. As a matter of fact, we work well with men. That's why we're here. And we enjoy it, and we enjoy playing an action game, and we're active in doing the same thing that the men are trying to do, trying to do a very good job, the best job that we can.
Female Audience member:
To what extent has lack of mobility justification for not promoting women beyond, like, second-level management positions?
What, do you mean real lack of mobility or imagined lack of mobility?
Female Audience Member:
What happens, of course, is that men who are making decisions to promote get together in the smoke-filled room and say, oh, gee, who should we consider, and a woman's name comes up, and they say to themselves, oh, well, she wouldn't really want to move, and maybe the job after next will require that she does. Of course, they don't go and ask her. It's often used as an excuse, but it's not a valid excuse under any circumstances.
Female Audience Member:
How do you convince the men in that room that that's not right?
Well, that's where the affirmative action program comes in. You know, I've become much more sympathetic with the policeman after getting into this job. But the best measurement of success is a tangible item called numbers of promotions and numbers of career development assignments. And any company, any large company, particularly, who doesn't keep a very close track of what's happening in each manager's bailiwick is missing a tremendous opportunity to have an affect on the long-term position of that company under the law.
You know, in a sense women are a tremendous threat to this industry because there are a lot of them there. There are a lot of them who have potential back-wage claims, and the amount of money that could be involved in exercising women's rights, as they exist today under the law, it would be unbelievable, I think, to many of us.
Mr. Hitchcock, I know of an interesting story along this line that happens to come right out of your own telephone company. Recently, there was an opportunity which involved promotional possibilities, but it would involve moving to another location. Each man in the office was asked if he would consider moving, and some of them said yes, and some of them said no.
Nothing had been said, though all the men in the office had been canvassed, to the woman who was an engineer. Finally, her boss decided he better do it because this was required of him. So he asked her if she would move, and she said, why, yes. And he said, but don't you have to ask your husband first? She said, well, you didn't ask the men if they had to ask their wives first. Why do you ask me this? And he said, well, that's different. She said, no, it's not. It's the same situation. And this is true.
As I said earlier, we haven't changed that guy's way of thinking, but we did change his way of acting. At least he asked.
Female Audience Member:
I'm - - and I work for - - , and I noticed that management spends a lot of time asking questions about my husband, you know, what he does, conditions and things like that. Is management asking this on behalf of their wives?
Well, I should've let you answer this because you're a compliance officer, but you cannot ask women any different questions than you would ask a man, and if they ask you that, they're not acting according to the law.
Have you really found this to be a rather widespread situation, because I, I would be quite surprised. I've been involved in interviewing and, and as Cynthia indicated, there's, there's—as far as I know, within my company, certainly no differences in any, anything that goes on in an interview.
That's very interesting. I think you should continue your interviewing because you will find many companies that not only will not do that, but will be very interested in your capabilities, precisely yours.
Come see us.
Have you mostly interviewed with personnel recruiters, or have you talked actually to the engineer for whom you would be working?
Female Audience Member:
No, I never got to the engineer.
The reason I'm saying this is because being one of the people who came along much earlier in the game, I never got jobs through the personnel department. I learned early that a woman engineer never goes to the personnel department. They go to the engineer for whom they would be working. They then are hired, and then the personnel department is notified that they have been hired. This is—[Laughter]
Female Audience Member:
Well, that's not true anymore.
Well, it may no longer be true, but I'm talking about the past. I realize I'm talking about the dark ages.
Could I ask you a question: Did you talk to recruiters at the university?
No, I'm - - .
I see. All right. Were you ever recruited at your bachelor's level, it take it, or master's level?
At the bachelor's level.
I would say this is very, very - - , and the fact that I was a widow, I think, helped me greatly to get through the IR maze . And the fact that I was later married made it much easier for me to make the men I was working with comfortable about me. I think that this is a very insidious thing when it comes to trying to get through the IR maze . It's very difficult for a young person out of school to know the engineer they would be working for. And how else do you get into a company but through IR ?
Well, the reason—there's a special reason for my asking this because increasingly at the universities where I've been working we find that the recruiting effort is directed toward the women technical graduates and that they are being told and being directed toward a series of jobs. No longer are you coming in with an EE with a bachelor's, and the responsibility here, but I have noticed a trend that where would you like to be three years from now or four years from now, and how can we get you there? This is being done at the campus level in the recruiting office, and I think this augers well for the kind of direction that we've taken here. We're talking about career planning in the longer term, not career planning until you get married.
Certainly things are better now, but I know a number of times, my husband and I, we both have PhDs in nuclear physics, and when we'd look for a job, most always, we'd look for two jobs, not one. We had to go as a pair, and sometimes work in very different areas, like at Lockheed, we worked sometimes very close and sometimes rather remote.
It naturally is contingent, and I feel, certainly as recent as a couple of years ago, it would be very difficult, say, for a young couple, married, for the wife to get a job and that would be why they're interested in the husband and what he's doing because I think they still haven't got over that hurdle yet, and there probably are some practical reasons in terms of the two, and they figure, well, you know, who's going to stay home? And the most likely to stay home, they're still probably going to bet on the woman.
Things have significantly improved because like at my first job really in terms of offers, I think, my husband probably got ten times the number than I did. There were lots of offers, but that just shows you what the ratio was. And today, it's no longer like that, of course, but you do run this problem, and you probably will have—if you want to get a permanent job, will have difficulty until you know exactly when he's going to be through and what the two of you are going to do. You'd have to give them that information and be fairly convincing.
I'd like to add, however, that I know of no practices in Lockheed today that would differentiate between the fact that your husband is a graduate or not a graduate. I don't think we'd go into that at all. In fact, thinking of our employment form, I don't know where it says anything except married or not married, and I'm not sure of that anymore.
So if I understand your question correctly, we would not take into account the fact that your husband is in college. If you're qualified for some opening, which we'd like to fill with you.
In fact, if any employer raises that issue, it's against the law. It's sex discrimination, potentially.
It may be illegal. On the other hand, I do hiring myself, and when I'm hiring people, I take into account how long I think they'll stay with me, how long they'll be interested in the job. So that's—
And that's perfectly appropriate, but, but if you take into account that they're married, and therefore their husband might or wife might lead them away, then it's not. I don't think,in fact, I'm sure that our employment forms are set up the same way, and they've been gone over by fancy attorneys. The questions that would get at the issue that you raised to allow an employment interviewer to make those judgments are simply off the form.
Yes, I think formally that's certainly true, but if you are going to hire someone and train them to do a particular job that it'll take several years to do, I think practically it comes down to it.
Of course one thing that's involved here that you should point out maybe to some of these people is that hiring a man doesn't guarantee that he's going to stay on the job for more than two or three years either because he may get a better offer someplace else and hop jobs, which they often do, particularly if they're very ambitious. So the fact that a woman will be changing jobs in two to three years is no different than that of a man. In fact, I think the statistics will support the fact that women tend to stay longer on the jobs than men.
Male Audience Member:
Case in point on encouraging young ladies to do scientific work with us in the young engineers competition that we've had over the past several years and unfortunately we don't have now. - - At one of the earlier WESCON shows if you recall, over half of the participants were girls, and they did very well in the presentations they made. I'm not saying that's the only way to encourage them, but it shows that many of them have really good talent, and it shows that they got many of the awards. I'm sure there are 100 more than we ever saw because they were eliminated early, but they're one of the fastest ways of early detection of interest and capability.
Well, when we—when Lockheed was conducting this program for high school students, high school women students, one of the things that we found was that one of our problems was some of the high school counselors. Some high school counselors wouldn't even pass out of the notice, wouldn't even inform the young women that the opportunity to come to this program existed. We would announce it in the company paper, and many of the fathers would come home and find out about it and insist that their daughters get a chance to come, or sometimes we'd have notice in the paper and people would find out there. But one of our problems was high school counselors who when you have a young woman who is skilled in this area, will not encourage her to continue. Yes?
Male Audience Member:
- - what sort of - - undergraduate - - have any idea whatsoever - - ?
Well, I sort of gave myself an aptitude test. I went through the college catalogue and picked the field that had all the interesting subjects so far as I was concerned. And so perhaps my thoughts were somewhat vague, but being a Westerner, I have maybe more direct contact with a lot of engineering operations than some of the other people in some of the other areas might.
For instance they were building some of the dams here. You know, some of the dams in the west and this sort of thing that's going on, and we did have an opportunity to visit those areas. We did have an opportunity to go up to Kellogg and visit the smelters, go through some of the mines. I didn't, I suppose, know specifically what I would do. I knew that some people, some women who had gone into this field had done such things as work for some of the technical magazines, and since I had a strong writing background, I thought this might be a possibility.
The Dean of our college used to say, well, the job that most metallurgists get when they get out of school is to be an assayer, so your first year, be the best assayer they ever had, and then start being rotten so you have a chance to be something else. And this is pretty good, sound, basic advice, no matter how you start out because I think many, many people can get trapped in their careers, and I've kept this little thought in mind as I went along. Maybe that's one of the things that helped me.
Male Audience Member:
There were more fields that are opening to women all along, but the present outlook might not be so good in the short term, but you go and prepare yourself, now.
Oh, very definitely. You just can't say, well, this is going to be restricted, , this is the best avenue, so take that. I think the only way you can do it is, is if you have the opportunity and you think you want to go into it, you go into it. They're the hardships you're going to have to endure, that's just part of life, but you've got to take that step. You just have to.
I've always advised all engineers, male or female, that in order to be an engineer in the first place, you have to be stubborn. And also, you have to have a high sense of integrity because if you don't have that, you might as well not be an engineer. That's what they're paying you for. Your expertise in the field plus your integrity. Those two go hand in hand.
I think we're coming to the end of our time. I'll try to run briefly through. On the end here we have Sandra Howley who is manager of information services at ESL. Jim Hitchcock, who is compliance manager for the telephone company. Cynthia Pruett who is quality assurance manager for IBM. Dr. Tony Malo, who is in the Graduate School of Business at the Santa Clara University, where works in the area of teaching courses and planning courses in management training. Carolyn Morris from Hewlett Packard, who's in marketing. Mr. Alfred Gardner, who's from Lockheed and assistant to the president of Lockheed, and Dr. Lillian Singletary with TRW where she is a project manager.
- 1 About the Panel Session
- 2 Copyright Statement
- 3 Panel Session