Some observations –
For the first two years of college(74-76), there were no women enrolled in the engineering program of study I chose. During my final two years(76-78) there was only one.
In my first job (Public Sector, 78-84) for the five and a half years I was there, of the almost two dozen employees like myself holding the title of “engineer”, none were women.
Next job with a private manufacturer was noticeably different in that women occupied positions in all areas and levels of the company except extreme upper management, however during my 20 years there (84-04) that also changed and we had several women CEO’s as well as other top titles.
But down in the “ranks” where I worked the dynamics of male/female mix was more interesting. I often said and firmly believe the most successful (driven?) salespeople I’ve supported and worked with were women. In general I enjoyed and preferred to work with women over the men in that capacity. By 1997 over half of the branch sales force in my particular Division of AT&T (later Lucent Technologies) were married/childless women under the age of 30.
A new (male) manager promoted from within the sales ranks looked around at who now worked for him and openly questioned (repeatedly) why his predecessor had hired so many potential mothers. It wasn’t something he ultimately had to deal with because they only started having kids after he moved on in 2000. Then the floodgates opened, so to speak, and all of the women had their first child within the next two years. Three decided immediately to not come back after giving birth, two others did and even stayed after their second child. But in 2005 the office was shut down and everyone was sent home to work. This led to these two remaining women to also leave and become full time mothers. I had stayed in touch with them after I left several years ago and the last one to leave (this month) told me it was hard for her when she stepped out of her home office for something, seeing her kids and knowing she had to tell them no if they asked for attention since “mommy was still working”.
I’d like to think the children gained more than the company lost.