Since the early 2000s, awareness of gender disbalances coupled with corrective efforts has helped to increase the number of women working in fields previously dominated by men, including law, business, and medicine. However, despite initiatives to actively recruit women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers, the gender gap in STEM persists – and interestingly, it seems that the cultural expectations of women who become parents may affect the pursuit of equality.
In an effort to understand why women are still underrepresented in STEM fields, researchers studied parenthood and how it affects the American workforce. A majority of the American workforce will become parents during their working lives.
Co-authors Erin Cech, a sociologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, UK.
Co-authors Erin Cech, a sociologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor , and Mary Blair-Loy, founding director of the Center for Research on Gender in the Professions at the University of California, San Diego, analyzed eight-year longitudinal STEM professionals in the United States. Using the data from the sample, the authors examined the new parents' career paths in comparison with their childrenless peers. The analysis concluded that significant maternal toxicity occurs. After the four to seven years of adoption or adoption of the first child, 43 percent of women left their full-time STEM jobs, compared to 23 percent of new tributes.
The authors state that reasons vary in why more women than men leave their full-time STEM jobs, but relate to stereotypical gender roles that are upheld and perpetuated by the mainstream society.
"As we note in the paper, although tens now take on a larger role in childrearing now than in generations past, mothers still shoulder ̵
However, the authors emphasized that parenthood is not only a" mother's problem ", since the rate at which men leave is also notable.
"The difficulty that these professionals may face in balancing caregiving responsibilities with full-time STEM employment suggests that this issue is a concern for STEM's workforce broadly, and not just for the retention of women, "the authors state in the study, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "So, scholarly and policy literature framing childrearing responsibilities as solely a women's problem is short-sighted."
The path for new mothers who leave their full-time jobs also varies. According to a study, 11 percent of new mothers switched to part-time STEM work by 2010. At first glance, this may seem reasonable, but the authors explain that there are clusters for part-time work.
"Although there is some capacity in STEM for part-time work, they have several disadvantages: they usually pay much less per hour than full-time work, they are less likely to be accompanied by benefits such as healthcare and less likely to provide progress opportunities, "the authors state.
Cech said this finding is a problem not only for those who work in STEM, but also for the future of their work.
" These patterns suggest a roadblock in women's career advancement that "Their men's colleagues do not face the same degree," Cech said, adding that the departure of these women is a loss for scientific advancement. "
Leslie Field, PhD, Founder, Board Chair and CTO of Ice911, a Climate Change Nonprofit, told Salon she left her full. -time engineering work to start your own consulting firm, partly to give her more flexible hours as a parent. She agreed that when these fields do not provide new mothers with flexibility in their work, this is not only a barrier for the industry, but also for the future of work in the field.
"I think about things like climate change, women bring a gut-level deeper understanding, "she said. "I think we bring a little different perspective that is really helpful, when you set up teams and collaborate, you want multiple views in the room."