Winter 2008
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TCU Magazine "Academe"

Articles:  Take six | Littleton lessons | Caring 101Croaking Frogs

Looking for a few good women

By Nancy Bartosek

The percentage of women in technical jobs has remained a static 28 percent for several decades. The number of women in the work force is closer to 50 percent. In 1984, 40 percent of all computer science degrees went to women. By 1996 it had dropped to 27.5 percent.

Mirror images. As part of "Faces in Herstory," the fifth annual Women's Symposium, Susan Douglas Roberts (modern dance) and Alejandra Díaz, a guest dancer from Paraguay, joined forces in an "informance," a performance merging dance and poetry written by Anabella Acevedo-Leal (modern languages).

To the technical industry, those numbers could mean a shortage of qualified workers. To the five-member panel that was part of TCU's fifth annual Women's Symposium, the trend points to the professional challenges facing today's women, the continuing conflict between family and career.

"The complete irony is that I know there is more flexibility offered to women in technology than there is in some of the more traditional, thought of as female, family-friendly careers," said Motorola engineer Theresa Merklein '95. "We are perfectly happy to hire people at 20 hours a week just to have access to their skills."

"There is a keen interest in this problem in industry," Merklein said, "and not just in a sense of what is fair and equitable. This could become a real problem to technical companies in this country moving forward."