Monday, September 26, 2011

NSF Announces Steps to Improve Participation of Women in STEM Science Careers

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is announcing steps that will "make it easier for women to pursue careers in engineering and the sciences," according to an Op-Ed by Valerie Jarrett and Tina Tchen in yesterday's Washington Post.  They note that "women working in science, technology, engineering and math [STEM] careers earn 33 percent more than those in other occupations, and these 'STEM' skills will become even more important in high-growth, high-tech fields such as health-care technology and advanced manufacturing."

Jarrett and Tchen note that circumstances often work against women:

As with women throughout the workforce, however, women in STEM jobs are often expected to establish themselves professionally at the same time they are starting families. This forces women to choose between their careers and their responsibilities at home. Understandably, many of our most promising young scientists and engineers drop out of the pipeline. 

Ways that NSF is looking to make it easier for women in STEM careers include:
  • Working with women researchers who need to delay the start of a funded project for a family-related reason,
  • Options to add the lost time if female researchers interrupt research to have a baby,
  • Support for research into the effectiveness of flexible workplace policies.
 For a more in-depth discussion, see the Washington Post article by Jarrett and Tchen

More information is on the National Science Foundation web site.

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