New research discovers the desire for motherhood is often the limiting factor for fast-tracking women scientists, not performance or gender bias.
The new study by Cornell University scientists revealed that women with advanced degrees in math-intensive academic fields drop out of fast-track research careers primarily because they want children.
“Motherhood — and the policies that make it incompatible with a tenure-track research career — take a toll on women that is detrimental to their professional lives. Even just the plan to have children in the future is associated with women exiting the research fast-track at a rate twice that of men,” report Cornell human development professors Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci.
The study is found in the journal American Scientist .
“It is time for universities to move past thinking about underrepresentation of women in science solely as a consequence of biased hiring and evaluation, and instead think about it as resulting from outdated policies created at a time when men with stay-at-home wives ruled the academy,” said Williams.
For the study, Williams and Ceci analyzed data related to the academic careers of women and men with and without children in academic fields, including math-heavy ones.
They found that before becoming mothers, women have careers equivalent to or better than men’s.
“They are paid and promoted the same as men, and are more likely to be interviewed and hired in the first place,” Williams said.
Source: Cornell University