Stadler, B., Haas, M., Leschanz, C., & Masi, A. L. (2023). The “PARENT” Initiative: PArents in REsearch aNd Technology: Study of the situation of parents at the Faculty of Technical Chemistry of TU WIEN. https://doi.org/10.34726/4822
E166-05-1 - Forschungsgruppe Synthetische Biologie und Molekulare Biotechnologie
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Parenthood; Faculty of Technical Chemistry; Pregnancy; TU WIEN; Scientific career; Academic career
Women are underrepresented in the science fields. Their representation decreases as they advance the career ladder. This phenomenon, known as the “leaky pipeline”, has been studied in diverse scientific fields and shown to have multiple causes, ranging from cultural determinants to harassment and implicit biases. In the academic year 2019/2020, the network of female scientists of the Faculty of Technical Chemistry (TCH) of the TU WIEN (FemChem) commissioned a study to investigate the situation of young researchers at the TCH. This study confirmed the existence of the “leaky pipeline” at the TCH and formulated recommendations to address this phenomenon. During this study, several supervisors mentioned pregnancy and parenthood as significant career challenges for young female researchers. However, this study did not address the young researcher about this topic. Thus, it was impossible to conclude if some female researchers are leaving the TCH due to direct or indirect considerations linked with pregnancy and parenthood. To investigate this hypothesis, a new study was commissioned by FemChem and conducted by the gender experts Marita Haas and Bettina Stadler. This study, named PARENT, for PArents in REsearch aNd Technology, is presented in the report hereafter. This study aims to evaluate the impacts of parenthood on scientific careers at the TCH, the gender-specificity of these impacts, and formulate recommendations to mitigate the effects of parenting and gender-specific differences. Four methodological steps were followed in the PARENT study. First, two discussion groups were organised to gather the personal experience of scientific employees of the TCH on the investigated topics. Based on the input from the focus groups, an online questionnaire was designed to gather quantitative data. Then, creation workshops with supervising employees were organised to build concrete solutions to challenges identified in the previous steps. Finally, a search for good practices in similar organisations was performed. The results lead to the formulation of short and long-term recommendations to improve parents' situation at the TCH and reduce gender-specific impacts.