Housework slowing female scientists?

April 7, 2010 at 5:53 PM
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STANFORD, Calif., April 7 (UPI) -- California researchers said Wednesday's "No Housework Day" should also be a day to examine the impact of housework on potential female scientists.

The Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University said No Housework Day, a day encouraging U.S. residents to put off their chores and relax, should also be an opportunity to examine "the detrimental role (housework) plays in draining America's scientific resources."

Londa Schiebinger, Hinds Professor of History of Science and Director of the Clayman Institute, said in a Jan. 19 paper her research involving 1,222 tenured and tenure-track faculty respondents in the natural sciences found female scientists in long-term relationships performed 54 percent of their home's housework, while male scientists performed only 28 percent.

Schiebinger suggested extra employment benefits could help offset the extra time spent on housework by female scientists.

The director held a panel Wednesday featuring experts from human resources, the housecleaning industry and medical research to discuss the proposal.

"This work needs to be lifted out of the private sphere of the family and put on to the national grid," Schiebinger said.

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