A study by University of Michigan-Ann Arbor researchers found that after science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals become parents, 43% of women and 23% of men change fields, become part-timers, or exit the workforce entirely.
Michigan's Erin Cech said these numbers were higher than expected.
The research was based on the career paths of 629 men and 212 women tracked by the U.S. National Science Foundation's Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT).
SESTAT said these professionals were full-time STEM workers in 2003, and had their first child before the next SESTAT data collection cycle in 2006, versus almost 3,000 STEM workers without children.
The University of Wisconsin, Madison's Anna Kaatz hopes these findings will spur policy changes to make STEM more welcoming and supportive for parents.
Said Kaatz, "If this was some sort of epidemic killing people off, that's really a lot of people leaving just because they're starting a family."
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