Women Oncologists Skip Scientific Conference to Take Care of Children
A new study done on 248 early career oncologists by
University of Michigan showed that women were less likely than men to attend
scientific meetings as they had to attend to their children at home.
The survey showed that only a third of the men had to skip a scientific meeting because of family obligations while half of the women said child care made them skip such conferences."Amid concerns about gender inequity in advancement in medicine, it is especially important to identify innovative and visible actions that target the mechanisms fueling inequity," says study author Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., Newman Family Professor and deputy chair of radiation oncology at Michigan Medicine and director of the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine at the University of Michigan.
About three-quarters of both the men and the women surveyed had young children. But while 74% of women had a spouse employed full-time, only 45% of men did. And women reported spending about 10 hours more each week than men on parenting and domestic tasks. The study is published in JAMA Oncology.
"Our society continues to embrace a gendered division of domestic labor, whereby women bear the greater burden of responsibilities at home, even when they're highly committed to their careers. Facilitating work-life integration is essential, and this study provides concrete data to support this need," Jagsi says.
The authors cite onsite child care and women's networking venues as essential elements to improve access for women. Nearly three times as many women as men said having child care onsite at meetings would be extremely important and would help enable them to attend.