With the recent nomination of Janet Yellen as chairman of the Federal Reserve, a variety of news coverage has focused on the lack of women at high levels in finance or even with the necessary credentials – a PhD in economics. Why aren’t there more women in such positions? Sociologists find evidence for several barriers women encounter along the way.

Fewer women tend to choose highly competitive, male-dominated professions such as economics, finance, or engineering
When they do join these fields, women often encounter discrimination at all levels of career progression
Some women leave these professions after they have children because they lack the support to meet both work and family demands.