“The folks at the NSF understand that you shouldn’t be penalized or lose a chance to advance in your career because you are taking care of a new child or a mom or dad who’s gotten sick,” said Michelle Obama in a White House speech. A new plan from the National Science Foundation allows scientists to defer or suspend their grants for a year to accommodate family planning or taking care of a sick family member. The plan also includes a salary supplement to help pay for a research assistant to step in for anyone taking a leave of absence.
This policy applies to both men and women, but it is geared towards retaining women in STEM fields. As the First Lady notes, “women earn 41% of the doctoral degrees in the sciences and engineering, but only make up 28% of the faculties in those disciplines.”
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