Though the representation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields has increased over the years, there remains significant drop-off at every stage, particularly during the years between postdoctoral and tenure-track positions.
Promoting the strategies that have proven effective in the retention of women in STEM fields at this critical postdoctoral juncture, as well as continuing to understand the factors that cause women to leave STEM, is essential to ensuring women attain leadership positions and achieve success at the highest levels of science.
Since 2003, L’Oréal USA’s For Women in Science (FWIS) program has supported 85 outstanding female postdoctoral scientists from across the country, awarding them over $4 million in grants. Over time, virtually all of these women have remained in science, countering the persistent “leaky pipeline” trend. To celebrate 15 years of the program and to further contribute to the dialogue around strategies for increasing the representation of women in STEM fields, L’Oréal USA partnered with the Heising-Simons Foundation to commission a study of its 75 fellows and explore how their experiences and recommendations can help more women succeed in science during this critical postdoctoral career stage.