Washington Update

FASEB Commends NASEM Report Highlighting Impact of COVID-19 on Academic Women in STEMM

By: Jacqueline Robinson-Hamm
Thursday, April 22, 2021

On April 9, FASEB sent a letter to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) commending their recent report, “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Careers of Women in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.” Preliminary evidence gathered in the report found that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected boundary setting and control, productivity, networking, and mental wellbeing of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. FASEB supports the report findings and appreciates the intentionally intersectional approach the NASEM Committee utilized.

Chapter five of the report, “Collaboration, Networks, and Role of Professional Organizations,” highlights scientific societies as valuable for assisting in collaborative networking and advocating for the needs of the scientific workforce. In its response, FASEB showcased the Excellence in Science award in recognition of outstanding achievement by women in biological science. Additionally, the letter highlighted FASEB member societies’ initiatives that promote careers of women scientists.

Scientific conferences are a mainstay for keeping up with the latest scientific discoveries in the field, as well as for networking, establishing new collaborations, and professional development — key tenets of Chapter 5 in the report. The quick pivot to virtual conferences in 2020 necessitated a focus on the conference experience; therefore, FASEB forwent some standard data collection. However, data from the 2019 FASEB Science Research Conference (SRC) series indicate a variety of career stages, and near gender parity for all participants. While women represented only 39 percent of SRC speakers in 2019, these conferences have demonstrated an increase in women speakers over the past five years and are committed to achieving overall gender parity. Data collection will resume for the 2021 conference season, and FASEB looks forward to making even further strides to promote women scientists.

If you’d like to help promote the career of a woman scientist, nominations for the 2022 FASEB Excellence in Science Awards are being accepted through June 3, 2021.