Trimble, L. B.
Stanford, CA: The Clayman Institute for Gender Research
Area of focus: 

Recent research conducted by sociologist Christine Williams is discussed, which investigated the negative impact of the implementation of progressive work structures on women's careers.

A case study of female geoscientists in the oil and gas industry identified that women are being disproportionately disadvantaged by three new developments in their workplaces. The increased reliance on work in teams creates situations where women's work is not always evaluated fairly. This can occur where employees work together but are evaluated individually and often by their own team. The introduction of "career maps" systems was intended to offer greater flexibility but the systems lack standardisation, creating confusion over promotion and personnel decisions, and allowing supervisors to be inconsistent in granting of leave and options offered. Work related networks are increasingly important for career development, but women feel excluded from these, and women's networks are either unavailable or considered ineffective.

The researcher found that working in gender-balanced teams was beneficial to women, as were standardised career map practices. This paper advocates institution of networks which are open to all staff, and making supervisors accountable for diversity outcomes.