I am pissed at what the article has to say about women and science, according to a summary in the globeandmail. First this article was in the life & style section of the newspaper when it should have been in the report on business section. Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) fields are business, human resource issues relating to them are important both for our economy and our society, that however is a different rant. I am pissed because the very group that is supposed to be advocating for the plight of SET is completely ignoring the issue, to the extent that they claim the female brain drain is not an issue in Biotechnology. How can I state this as a matter of fact? Well at the risk of losing my anonymity, I will tell you that I hosted a roundtable at which Colette Rivet was invited to speak, the purpose of the roundtable? To quote my own invitation to Colette:
Panellists on the roundtable will be asked whether the biotechnology industry and academia are facing the same challenges as (in respect to a skilled labour shortage and diminishing populations) other industries and countries? What will the economic impact of these challenges be? Is encouraging professional women to re-enter the job market by improving access to quality childcare and instituting flexible work-hours a solution to the impending labour shortages?
When I asked whether Biotechnology was facing a brain drain, the answer was an emphatic no, biotechnology is all peaches and roses when it come to women’s equality. Really because that is why I picked this topic. I am pissed because that roundtable was hosted by a student organization, it was full of young women who wanted to know what the challenges they faced and what some solutions were, what could they do to make a difference. It was meant to be a worthwhile discussion on what the real issues or challenges were and what were possible solutions. There were NO politicians, the other panelists? a wonderful policy guy, a banker to discuss to the financial impacts associated with HR policies (because Biotech is mostly startups where I am) and the HR council for Canada Biotech Industry. Do you know what we got? Bullshit, nothing worthwhile complete denial of an issue. But as the Harvard report shows the fact of the matter is well qualified women, and men, are leaving SET fields because of an inability to find work-life balance. We are losing talented individuals and we need to figure out how to stem the flow. Sticking our heads in our asses and denying there is a problem doesn’t do anyone any favors.
As an aside Lesson #432861 - if you're going to rant on the phone about heads in asses while trying to cook dinner, make sure the monkey is within sight because you won't notice the silence over your ranting and you will end up with this:
What you can't see, his pants soaked in the water that used to be in the toilet bowl, the bathroom floor covered in the water that used to be in the toilet bowl.