Impact of gender and caregiving responsibilities on academic success in hematology

Elsevier, Blood Advances, Volume 4, Issue 4, February 2020, Pages 755-761
Allison A. King, Sara K. Vesely, Emily Vettese, Sadie Cook, Adam Cuker, Wendy Stock, Morgan Homer, Josel Fritz, Lillian Sung

We previously identified gender disparities in academic success during evaluation of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Clinical Research Training Institute (CRTI) and hypothesized that it may be related to caregiving. The objective was to evaluate the impact of gender and caregiving responsibilities on academic success. A cross-sectional survey that included a question about caregiving responsibilities was distributed to alumni who participated in CRTI from 2003 to 2016 and asked about academic productivity in the previous 3 years. Publications and grants were abstracted from submitted curriculum vitae. Academic success was defined as number of first- or senior-author publications, total publications, grants, and percent effort in research. Of 280 potential respondents, 258 responded (92% response rate), 169 (66%) had caregiving responsibilities, and 110 (43%) were men. Respondents with caregiving responsibilities had fewer first- or senior-author publications (median, 3 vs 5; P = .003) and less percent effort in research (median, 40% vs 50%; P = .006). Men had more first- or senior-author publications (median, 4 vs 3; P = .002) and more total publications (median, 12 vs 6.5; P = .0002) than women. When stratified by those without (P = .0001) or with (P = .042) caregiving responsibilities, men had more publications than women. Among men, caregiving responsibilities significantly reduced all outcomes. However, among women, caregiving did not have an impact. In conclusion, men had more publications than women whether or not they had caregiving responsibilities. However, among men, caregiving reduced academic productivity whereas among women, caregiving did not have impact. The scientific community will need to continue to identify the reasons for disparities and implement changes to address them.