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Twenty-First Century Minerva: Are there career impacts for women who receive a “Women in Science” Fellowship?

Patricia Weir, Joan Leach, Jenny Gamble, Debra Creedy

Abstract


This exploratory study examined the impact of an international award on women scientists’ careers. Participants were a group of elite young women scientists at the start of their careers in a diverse range of disciplines, who had received a L’Oréal Australia: For Women in Science International Fellowship. Open-ended interview questions explored participants’ perceptions of their careers following the Fellowship and of their identity as women scientists. Results indicate that the award was vital to the self-confidence and identity of women scientists establishing and consolidating their careers. Other factors, such as having children and workplace culture, had a negative impact on their career progression and confidence in pursuing a science career. Policy implications relating to institutional culture and the need for flexibility regarding child-rearing are discussed, as well as the importance of women-only awards to career progression.

 


Keywords


women in science; science awards; L’Oréal International Fellowship; science careers

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