In a survey taken of over 4,000 scientists across the globe, 70% of whom were men, researchers found that people consider science a "family unfriendly" career. Over half of survey respondents said that work clashed with family responsibilities several days per week. While women in the sciences have long complained of problems with work/family life balance, this is one of the first studies to reflect widespread male dissatisfaction with the same issue.
According to the Association for Women in Science, who conduced the study:
More than half (54%) of all scientists and researchers said that work demands conflict with their personal lives at least 2-3 times per week.
Only a third of researchers agreed they work for family friendly institutions. A number said that their employers do not have spousal hire policies or that such policies are not available because of funding cuts.
Only half of the women (52%) reported that they are happy with their work-life integration, compared with 61% of men working in research across all fields.
One third of researchers say that ensuring good work-life integration has negatively impacted their careers and women (37%) were more likely than men (30%) to say this was the case. For those researchers with dependent children, 36% reported career problems.
Nearly 40% of women respondents have delayed having children because of their careers, while 27% of males indicated the same situation. A number of women mentioned waiting until they had a permanent position to get pregnant or noted that they could not afford to start a family on their wages.
Science may be building the future, but it seems that many scientists are working as if they lived in the past.
In a release, AWIS executive director Janet Bandows Koster said:
These findings confirm that work-life conflict is not gender-specific in the scientific community. The real issue is that the academic workplace is still modeled on an ideal that no longer exists nor complements the realities of today's global workforce.
Read the full study here.
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