New York, Feb 28 : Despite strides in family-leave offerings, and men taking a greater role in parenting, women in academia still experience about a 20 per cent drop in productivity after having a child, a new study suggests.
According to researchers, including Allison Morgan from the University of Colorado Boulder, persistent differences in parenting roles are the key reason that men tend to publish more research papers than women.
The researchers also found that while parental leave is critically important for women seeking faculty positions, 43 per cent of institutions have no such policy.
“Gender differences around parenthood are still driving decreases in women’s productivity, and while leave policies are very important for women in choosing their jobs, they are often either missing or incredibly hard to navigate,” said Morgan.
For the study, published in the journal Science Advances, the researchers surveyed more than 3,000 faculty in computer science, history and business departments at 450 universities in the United States and Canada in 2018.
They also gathered data on publishing rates and institution’s leave policies.
In all, they found that about 80 per cent of faculty have children. But men in academia are more likely to be parents than their female counterparts, suggesting that some mothers opt out of careers in higher education altogether to focus on their kids.
In general, academics who are also parents tend to publish more than non-parents, and fathers publish more than mothers, the researchers found.
While the productivity gap between mothers and fathers has narrowed since 2000, it still exists, the researchers said.