“Specter Of Motherhood” Derails Women's STEM Careers

Sept. 24, 2021
Assumptions about motherhood harm women in STEM fields long before they become mothers.

Long before they become mothers – or even intend to become mothers – women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are negatively affected by unfounded assumptions about motherhood, according to an article from The Conversation. Research from the University of California Santa Barbara reportedly finds that “the specter of motherhood” disadvantages young women and amplifies anticipatory concerns about combining an academic career with motherhood.

The authors conducted extensive interviews with 57 childless Ph.D. students and post-doctoral scholars – both men and women – in natural science and engineering programs at elite U.S. research universities to understand why women are more likely to forego careers in STEM academia. According to the article, women changed their minds about becoming professors because of workplace culture that assumes motherhood, although not fatherhood, is incompatible with an academic career.

Read the entire article here.

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