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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering
funding for women in science and engineering, “strives to increase the participation of women in the sciences and engineering at every level of higher education and to serve as a catalyst for colleges and universities to be proactive in their own efforts toward this goal.”128 Among its programs, CBL provides “professorship” grants that support women at the beginning of the tenure track. In addition to allowing for a stipend and benefits, the CBL professorship allocates 20% of the total award for covering professional expenses, including child care. Professorship awards are proposed by an institution, and may only be used to hire new tenure-track faculty. CBL funding also provides universities with an incentive to advance their women faculty. Proposals must describe an institution’s plan for increasing the external visibility of the candidate, nurturing her professional development, and incorporating her into a regular position at the end of the grant period. They must also demonstrate that the institution understands the factors that may hinder women’s career advancement and must describe the university’s policies for advancing women.
With a substantial proportion of women leaving the academic career path because of caregiving responsibilities, re-entry postdoctoral positions may be an effective “on-ramp” to bring these women back into academic science and engineering careers. The Harvard Women in Science and Engineering Task Force (Box 6-3) recommended “senior postdoctoral fellowships” and similar kinds of funding at key transition points to enable women to reach leadership levels; such grants have also been available to facilitate career re-entry through the NIH Mentored Research Scientist Development Award K01 grant mechanism.129 The American Physical Society recently implemented the Hildred Blewitt Scholarship to support the career re-entry of a researcher who has had a career interruption due to family responsibilities.130
Considerable attention has been directed at understanding how to create work environments that provide women and minority-group members fair compensation and resources, networking opportunities, and appropriate integration of work and home responsibilities. Resistance to change is