Who can fix a leaky pipeline?
Get to know 5 gender-friendly measures implemented by the SNFS to support female researchers in their academic careers and fix the leaky pipeline.
Women represent only 20% of faculty members in Switzerland (press release Federal Statistical Office) and 22.6% at University of Zurich (UZH) (UZH Gleichstellungsmonitor). This statistic, per se, should not be surprising, assuming women also constituted 20% of total number of students and graduates. However, this is not the case.
Data clearly show that women outnumber men at entry, master and often doctorate level; this is true for UZH in general as well as for individual faculties such as medicine and science (See Figure to the right). The loss of women in these faculties is not a linear process, but rather a dramatic and sudden drop that happens at a very precise stage of the career. ‘Leaky pipeline’ is the term used to indicate this phenomenon. The hole in the pipeline (through which UZH is slowly but steadily missing hundreds of highly-educated women) is located at the postdoctoral level (shaded areas in Figure).
Why do female postdocs abandon academia?
Difficulties in juggling family and professional lives, lower rates of applications for grants and academic positions, and implicit bias at universities are currently considered to be the main drivers of this phenomenon (Challenging the “leaky pipeline” in faculties of medicine). In particular, female early-stage researchers with family obligations tend to ‘loose’ time (resulting in a gap in their career development), as well as mobility (therefore less visible internationally).
What is the SNSF doing about it? Not everybody knows that…
If you are already funded by the SNFS (i.e. you are employed in SNSF-funded project or career funding schemes, or you are the grantee of a career funding scheme) you may be eligible for one of the following supplementary measures:
The 120% support grant: A grant to give you some extra time and flexibility to balance career and family
The gender-equality grant: A grant to facilitate female researcher’s mobility and career development
Mobility grants in projects: A grant that finally makes mobility family-friendly
In addition, the following measures are available to female researchers:
PRIMA: A grant that gives you five extra years to build your professorship with unprecedented flexibility
Marie Heim-Vögtlin (MHV) prize
Additional information on SNSF and UZH gender-specific action can be found here:
This text was provided by Maria Teresa Ferretti from the ZNZ Gender Equality Committee. The Committee would like to thank Mirjam Bastian and the Gender Equality Office at UZH for providing updated and faculty-specific graphs on leaky pipeline. Thanks to the Gender Equality Office of the SNSF for support with the gathering of SNSF-related information. We recommend consulting the original SNSF links for exact guidelines and eligibility criteria of all measures.
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