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Women’s History Month 2022: Providing Healing, Promoting Hope

By: France-Elvie Banda 
Thursday, March 17, 2022
This year’s 34th anniversary of Women’s History Month celebrates caregivers, health care workers, and the many ways women have provided healing and hope for communities. The ongoing pandemic has shown that many caregivers and frontline workers make daily sacrifices that often go unrecognized. According to Forbes, women constitute almost 80 percent of health care workers in the United States, and Family Caregiver Alliance estimates that women make up 66 percent of caregivers. As a result of this intersection, working women have experienced the additional pressures of managing family care during the pandemic. Studies have found that women are four times as likely as fathers to take time off work and stay at home with a sick child. This has major implications on gender disparity in career progression, especially in STEM where women’s representation decreases as career stage advances. While women receive 50.1 percent of STEM bachelor’s degrees, only 36 percent of postdoctoral fellows and 29 percent of employees are women. As noted by Yale Scientific, the disparity is even greater for women of color, who only make up 4.8 percent of the STEM workforce. 

A study in InsideHigherED reports 70 percent of women caregivers found it difficult to keep up with the latest research in their field, compared to 54 percent of male caregivers. This year’s Women’s History Month celebration reminds us of the additional support women caregivers need to eliminate obstacles preventing from making significant advancements in their careers, especially in the life sciences. 

In our commitment to caregivers, FASEB CARES (Career Advancement and Research Excellence Support), FASEB’s family care awards program, will provide caregivers the support they need to pursue their scientific training and professional development opportunities. The award program, set to launch in the second quarter of 2022, offers meaningful support to the lives of FASEB society members by providing a monetary award to those demonstrating a family care need. By eliminating financial burdens associated with caregiving costs, FASEB CARES aims to promote career progression and the retention of women in science. If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in applying for the FASEB CARES Award, please contact DEAI Program Manager Debra Bouyer and DEAI Program Coordinator France-Elvie Banda.