The long game.

Here is a fascinating exploration into why there exists a gender gap in publication rates in academia. It delves into longitudinal data on over 3K individuals’ outputs in computer science, history, and business departments across the US and Canada to discover significantly lower short-term productivity among new moms. Taking a global view, mothers produced 17-26% fewer papers than fathers in the early-career period, while the gender discrepancy among non-parents was only 4 -12%. Most of this is explained by a sharp decrease in productivity in the year of a parenthood event, where productivity of mothers decreases by as much as half but not really at all for fathers. In the same vein, almost all moms (92%) but not even two-thirds of dads (62%) took advantage of parental leave. While this all suggests that a motherhood penalty can explain the vast majority of the gender gap in pub rates, “policies aimed at mitigating the impact of parenthood on faculty should do more than narrowly focus on optimizing near-term scholarly productivity” and instead “recognize the long-term social, scholarly, and individual value of supporting work-life balance for both mothers and fathers.” | Morgan, Sci Adv 2021

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