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Rice sociologist finds male scientists regret parenthood decisions more than female counterparts
Date:8/19/2010

ology and physics do not differ statistically in rates of marriage, the number of children they have or their perceptions of career impediments," the researchers wrote. "We expected that because there is a much greater proportion of women in biology than physics, women in biology might experience less tension between work and family (e.g., due to working with more understanding colleagues or having greater support through their departmental infrastructure). Yet, there are no disciplinary differences for women in terms of work-family balance as an impediment to career progress or having fewer children than they would have desired. Reaching gender parity in a profession may be a necessary but not sufficient condition to bring about equality with men in the profession or the discipline."

In what could be seen as an unexpected finding, Ecklund and Lincoln noted that when asked about denied parenthood, "women in both physics and biology are significantly more happy with their lives than are male physicists."

Still, Ecklund and Lincoln found that overall, women scientists are less satisfied with their careers than their male colleagues are. "A higher percentage of women (nearly 48 percent) also report that balancing work and family has obstructed their careers," they wrote. But the researchers did not detect any significant difference between men and women in how many hours they work each week and whether they work on weekends and vacations. Finally, women scientists are significantly less likely than men to perceive support from their departments, but there is no gender difference in perceived support at the university level.


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Contact: David Ruth
druth@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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