Skip to main content
< Back to news
The nine researchers selected to participate in the 2024 edition of “To the Mothers of Science” programme. Credit: BIST.

Three researchers from the PCB community receive the BIST Mothers of Science Grant

Marina Inés Giannotti and Nina Kostina, from IBEC, and Paula Martínez, from IRB Barcelona, are three of the nine researchers who have been selected this year to participate in the “To the Mothers of Science” programme of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST). This initiative provides financial aid and coaching to women scientists who have dependent children and who also aspire to attain positions with higher responsibility in their fields.

The external selection panel comprised ICREA research professors Mariona Graupera from the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute and Soraya Pelaz from the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG), along with Marta Lacambra, general director of the Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation. The panel emphasised the exceptional scientific caliber of the awardees in this fourth edition of the “To the Mothers of Science” programme, which launches calls every two years.

Thanks to the “To the Mothers of Science” grants, the researchers will benefit from group coaching sessions led by Arantxa Gómez Esqué, a coach specialised in scientific research, and will receive a monthly salary top-up of 400 euros over the course of one year, which they may spend on whatever they deem most necessary.

Having children affects women’s careers more than men’s

Despite the fact that men are much more involved in parenting today than their fathers and grandfathers were thirty or sixty years ago, recent studies show that fatherhood and motherhood impact men’s and women’s careers unequally. This difference is especially prominent in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers, which are often associated with fast-paced and constantly evolving work environments where it is easy to fall behind.

study conducted in the USA among professionals in STEM disciplines showed that, although the arrival of children significantly affects both men’s and women’s careers, it does so more strikingly in women. Between four and seven years after the arrival of the first child, 43% of women in STEM had changed their full-time job for different work or had stopped working altogether, compared to 23% of men. In Catalonia, the study “Women’s Employment Outcomes Twenty Years After Finishing University” (AQU Catalunya, 2021), similarly shows that having children doubles the salary gap between men and women, and that experimental sciences and mathematics are among the fields with the highest glass ceilings (lowest percentage of women in leadership roles). The same AQU Catalunya study also shows that mothers with children perceive a greater imbalance in the time dedicated to family, work, and themselves, as compared to fathers and those without children.

“It’s surprising that, despite the efforts dedicated to fostering scientific vocations among girls, and considering that young women outnumber men in our vocational and talent programmes, motherhood becomes an added difficulty in the already complex career of a woman scientist”, laments Marta Lacambra, director of the Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation.

The “To the Mothers of Science” programme aims to reduce this distress among mothers. As coach Arantxa Gómez Esqué explains, “Our goal is to provide mothers with the tools and support they need to effectively manage their work and family responsibilities, while taking care of themselves and prioritising their own wellbeing.”

» For further information: BIST website [+]