Women want flexibility

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Control of their work schedules helps women to stay in jobs after childbirth, study finds.

Female early-career researchers with newborn babies are most likely to want to keep their jobs if their employers provide security and flexibility, including the right to leave work to care for an ill child, a study finds. Published on 23 May in the bi-monthly Journal of Applied Psychology (D. S. Carlson et al. J. Appl. Psychol. doi:10.1037/a0023964; 2011), the study reports better job retention for new mothers who stay physically and mentally healthy as a result of accommodations. Lead author Dawn Carlson, a professor of management at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, says that scientists should check how a prospective employer handles the needs of families before accepting an offer. To retain female staff, universities should allow maximum flexibility. “Whether extending the tenure clock or some other measure, the organization has to figure out a way to support these people if they want to reduce turnover,” says Carlson.

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