Submitted to: Journal of Biomolecular Techniques
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/20/2008
Publication Date: 12/1/2008
Citation: Cilia, M. 2008. Towards sustaining women through critical transition points in scientific careers: a workshop summary.. Journal of Biomolecular Techniques. 19(5):353–355.
Technical Abstract: This invited editorial summarizes and comments on discussions from a workshop entitled “From Doctorate to Dean or Director: Sustaining Women through Critical Transition Points in Science, Engineering, and Medicine” held by the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine of the National Academies in Washington DC on September 18th and 19th 2008, the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF), and sixteen other professional societies. Discussions focused on issues and specific recommendations to sustain women through transition points in their scientific careers. The ABRF’s particular emphasis for this workshop was on scientists working in core technology facilities, which provide services and expertise to a wider community of researchers. Across all core facility sectors (academic, government and industry), the percentage of male employees holding MDs or PhDs is significantly greater than the percentage of female employees, although there is no significant difference in salaries for men and women at the same degree level at core facilities in all sectors. There is however, a trend in the numbers of women scientists decreasing with advancing professional rank. Factors contributing to this decrease include competing family responsibilities, lack of mentorship, self confidence issues, and the culture of science. The ABRF is developing specific recommendations to address these issues and develop a plan to assist women making the transition from bench scientist to core facility director.