Nature published insights from Sindy Escobar-Alvarez, program director for medical research, on the importance of removing the stigma of caregiving in a series of expert perspectives on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected female researchers, especially those at early career stages.
Escobar-Alvarez writes: “COVID-19 has put a spotlight on researchers who also have carer responsibilities. We are hopeful that this moment will force us all to change the institutional culture that stigmatizes carers. In 2015, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation began the Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists. We gave ten medical schools funding to retain promising scholars who have caregiving roles at home. They have research funding, so this supplement helps them to hire a technician or research coordinator.
Not surprisingly, almost 80% of those scholars are women. Researchers continue to document lessons from that programme: most early-career faculty members have carer responsibilities; supplemental funding helps them to reclaim time and to maximize productivity; and institutional commitment to researchers who are caregivers reduces the stigma associated with caregiving. We hope this evidence will shine through the pandemic.”
Read more in Nature.