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Survey Chronicles Female Scientists' Career Strife

Though women obtained more doctoral degrees than men in 2008-09, "women with doctoral degrees in science and engineering held a third of all faculty positions in academia as of 2006," according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Results of a recent, nation-wide AAAS-Science survey indicate that "98 percent of all women who responded … know a female colleague who has left the science field because she encountered barriers to her professional success." Sixty-one percent of respondents reported that they'd "personally struggled to balance life and career," 52 percent said they'd experienced gender bias, and 34 percent said they'd "encountered limited access to mentors." Nearly three-quarters of female scientists who took part in the survey indicated that "they had sacrified their personal goals to achieve professional goals." In particular, AAAS notes that "female respondents were less likely to be married or in a long-term relationship than men," and "much less likely to have children than their male counterparts." AAAS director of education and human resources Shirley Malcom says that the community must "be more imaginative about how one can have a successful career in science as well as a life. … It will be necessary to re-orient the expectations so that women scientists face fewer hurdles and can play on a level field with their male counterparts." Our sister publication Genome Technology addresses these issues — as well as other obstacles female scientists face — in its October cover story, here.

The Scan

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.

Duke University Team Develops Programmable RNA Tool for Cell Editing

Researchers have developed an RNA-based editing tool that can target specific cells, as they describe in Nature.

Novel Gene Editing Approach for Treating Cystic Fibrosis

Researchers in Science Advances report on their development of a non-nuclease-based gene editing approach they hope to apply to treat cystic fibrosis.

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.