Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Family-friendly research and workplace initiative announced



A new U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) initiative aims to increase the participation of women and girls in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) over the next 10 years by providing more flexible research policies, promoting flexible workplace options, and supporting STEM careers for women, Obama administration officials announced on 26 September. Currently, women earn about 41% of STEM doctoral degrees awarded by U.S. educational institutions but make up only about 28% of tenure-track faculty in U.S. colleges and universities, the officials said. “Unfortunately, too many young women drop out of promising careers in science, engineering, and math because of conflicts between their desire to start families and the need to rapidly ramp up their careers,” said John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). “The way to help women stay in the STEM jobs pipeline is to create and support more flexible workplace policies that allow a women's career—or a man's, for that matter, but as we know, it's more common for women to give up STEM careers for family reasons—to thrive even as time is allowed for important family responsibilities.”