Research shows vulnerability of female scientists

Research shows vulnerability of female scientists



Lack of job security, the tough competition for research funding and the high workload are important reasons for both men and women with temporary contracts to turn their backs on science, according to a study (in Dutch) commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science at the request of the House of Representatives. 


Among female science dropouts, the above complaints are often more intense. Having children, uncertainty about assessments and pay, and a poor work-life balance are also factors women mention more often than men. Women on temporary contracts are more vulnerable to unequal treatment and discrimination than those on permanent contracts. Many face explicit questions about their desire to have children and negative reactions when they are pregnant. 


The researchers base their findings on a survey with responses from 500 female and male academics and interviews with 40 women. Among them academics still working in academia and who had already dropped out. 


To reduce the dropout rate among all scientists, the researchers say, better employment arrangements are needed. Specifically for women, it makes a difference if employers give men more parental leave. Training for managers and tackling unconscious prejudice would also help. (HOP, PvT)


Editor in chief Saskia Bonger

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