The gender gap strikes again. New research has revealed that the motherhood penalty applies to the sciences. That’s right: the very fact that a woman chooses to bear a child may mean that her science career earns her the gift of slowed progress. Hmm. Take a look at what recent findings presented at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference at the University of Sussex in Brighton, in March of 2018, had to say on the subject.

Researchers Cornelia Lawson, Aldo Geuna and Ugo Finardi analyzed the science careers of 262 men and women at the University of Turin. They looked at teaching, family commitments, funding and the impact that the research had—all within a 10-year career-span for each scientist.


So what did this research find? The women with children in the group studies just didn’t achieve the same career level as those without kiddos or the men. In contrast, the men in the group with children (in other words, the daddies) actually had better markers of career achievement, specifically regarding higher citation rates (meaning that their scientific research had an increased impact).

If you’re wondering why this motherhood penalty affects female scientists, the researchers feel that it could have something to do with the challenges that traveling to promote research pose for women with young children. But, on the other side of things, men may feel the drive to succeed and provide for their children.

What do you think about this research? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

—Erica Loop


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