Part II: The Sequelae of Women’s Unequal Burden of Family Care on Science Careers

In my last blog posting, I discussed the large differential that exists between men and women who intend to pursue an academic research career. I examined the data suggesting possible reasons and concluded that the most likely cause was the unequal sharing of the burden of family care where it falls much more heavily on women. In this posting, instead, I want to explore whether women and men who entered the scientific workforce as academics have the same chance of securing funding or whether there is a gender differential also at this level.


Women’s Unequal Share of Family Care is the Unmentionable Elephant in Unequal Science Careers

The nefarious impact of biomedical research budget cuts on the next generation of scientists has become a familiar theme of this blog. We are gingerly shooting ourselves in the foot! Recently, I found yet more chilling evidence in a report, issued by the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK,1 which showed how these ill-conceived budget policies will affect young scientists, especially young women. For better or worse, that’s my theme again in this blog post.


The Challenge and the Power of Diversity

When I made my decision a few months ago to join ASCB as its new Executive Director, I was particularly impressed by the Society's long tradition of breaking glass ceilings. From its earliest days, ASCB struggled to promote diversity in the life sciences. The modern embodiment of that commitment is our very active and influential Minorities Affairs Committee (MAC). There are no doubts that issues about minorities, race, and diversity are among the most polarizing topics in American society that are too often swept under the rug for fear of giving offense or in the desire to avoid controversy. This is why I am so glad that at ASCB we can tackle these complex issues, and work to find solutions to ensure the best workforce possible in cell biology. This is an ambitious, challenging, and broad goal, and one too important to be brushed aside.

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