I agree that there is self-selection involved, but there is also societal push back when women try…

Women often experience hostile work environments in male-dominated fields that lead many to leave the field.

Much of this likely has to do with the fact that male-dominated fields can tend to be hyper-competitive, replete with alpha male figures who consider everything to be a zero-sum game so anything 1 person earns another loses. Men create those kinds of environments in male only circles, and in business, doing everything they can to ensure their own success because society judges men on their success. More and more women are now entering into those kinds of spaces, as they should be free to do, but the fact that they don’t feel comfortable in those environments doesn’t mean it’s a hostile work environment.

Often this amounts to women being treated by men the same way that men treat other men, which can be pretty terrible if you’re not aware. You should see how the new guy gets treated at a fire station. Women aren’t used to being treated this way by men, they’re used to being placed on a pedestal by them. So when they join a work environment and find out that it’s stressful, disrespectful, crass, etc, they often assume they’re being treated differently because of their gender. Really, men are just pretty terrible to each other. It’s often in good fun, but it’s often not.

Women are welcome to join any field they want, and they’re welcome to start any business they want and thus ensure their preferred work environment and interpersonal interactions. However, it’s silly to expect women to join fields and businesses filled with men, and expect everyone’s behavior to change for them. They should go in with open eyes.

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