i like this comment by skeptalchemist:
I have got to wonder whether they have actually asked women who left the careers (not those who were already in a career of choice) why they left.
About societal pressure: it is not exactly easy to take the academic road when people think 1) you are crazy to waste your youth in a lab, 2) you are crazy to earn $25,000 or less a year, when with the same brain in business you would be starting at double that amount and 3) when you get psychologically harassed on the job.
By the time you are 30, IF THEY HAVE A CHOICE, most people would just give up and go for something where 1) they earn more (and given that on average women earn less than man, this is important if you want to have an independent life) and 2) work hours and work environment are more “normal”. Something tells me that males get some emotional compensation (more guidance? being considered as thinking adults rather than “oh, you got this grant because of your XX chromosomes“) that women do not get. And this “compensation” is higher in places where most faculty and students are…male. Of course, I am just speculating here.
People who leave science do not hate science. They like it, but they have spent too much time in an environment where they are being pressured beyond belief, and not compensated for it. And at some point, something cracks and they let go – to move on to better paid jobs and regain some mental and physical sanity.
At least, that is what I have observed around me in these past years.