In many scientific disciplines, equal numbers of men and women earn PhDs. The post-doc phase, however, coincides with prime childbearing years and is marked by brutal hours, lack of job security and repeated international assignments. It is at this stage that science loses so many talented women. In Europe, women represent just 15 percent of full professors.
In the Netherlands, what's known as a “care gap" prevents women scientists from maximizing their professional participation, competitiveness and career development. Having a family, especially young children, often becomes an obstacle when travelling to conferences and collaborating in international projects.
To develop and retain more female talent in science, the University of Groningen applied for and received a two year grant from The Elsevier Foundation to support the "Special Childcare Program." This project aims to target ad hoc situations — sick children, travel to conferences and parental participation in international projects — as well as offer childcare for conference participants and temporary lecturers.