New study shows: 23% of new fathers, and 43% of new mothers leave STEM fulltime work – what are your experiences?


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Cech E.A. and Blair-Loy M. investigated the role of parenthood with a longitudinal sample of STEM professionals in the US (see Cech E. A., Blair-Loy M.: Given The changing career trajectories of new parents in STEM. PNAS published ahead of print February 19, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1810862116 ).

The analyses revealed that 43% of women reduce their full-time STEM jobs and 23% of new fathers leave STEM after their first child. Combining STEM work with family obligations seems to be more difficult than in other professions. As Cech and Blair-Loy clearly outline for the US, STEM professions are still male-dominated, characterised by expectations of intensive working hours and a rapid innovation pace, making work-domain balance difficult.

Fathers and mothers who are actively engaged in childcaring may be viewed as not truly devoted to their job. Acording to their research specifically women with children are less likely to be employed full time compared to men with children. In academia new mothers are still far less likely than similarly qualified new fathers to obtain tenure-track position and less likely to be promoted with tenure.

What are your suggestions and experiences within the HBP? Is there a need to make work more family - or in general - more life friendly?