Re “Women Quit Jobs in Peak Years, Setback for Them and Economy”
Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
To the Editor of the New York Times,
Re: “Women Quit Jobs in Peak Years, Setback for Them and Economy” (front page, June 23):
The work-life balance challenge faced by working women is particularly difficult for those in STEM professions (science, technology, engineering and math). Taking time off the research track can be a potentially career-ending decision for a woman, as she can lose valuable connections and funding.
It also raises a bigger issue. With all the millions of corporate and government money being spent encouraging girls to enter STEM careers, how will the country see a return on investment without family-friendly work policies to support their careers?
Recently, the Elsevier Foundation funded an international study by the Association for Women in Science of more than 4,000 researchers to learn about their work-life challenges. Nearly 40 percent said they delayed having children because of their careers, compared with 27 percent for men.
This is not an American problem; it is a global one. But North American female researchers experience the highest rates of work-life conflicts.
The world needs scientific advancements to help us solve our global challenges, but society will surely be the loser if we cannot figure out a way to retain our female STEM work force.
New York, June 25, 2014