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Working to overcome the “baby penalty”

Stephanie Porter in profile
Stephanie Porter

Stephanie Porter, an assistant professor in biological sciences at WSU Vancouver, has helped co-author an opinion piece in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The article, “How to tackle a childcare-conference conundrum,” says researchers with dependent children, most often women and particularly women of color, face a “baby penalty” and “culture of inequity” when the demands of pregnancy, breastfeeding and caretaking keep them from attending and participating in professional gatherings.

Porter and 44 other women co-authored the piece as the Working Group of Mothers in Science. The group was organized by Rebecca Calisi, an assistant professor at the University of California Davis.

“When conference organizers consider parental needs, everybody wins,” the women write. “Offering childcare, accommodating families, providing appropriate resources, and establishing a parent social network are all ways that organizations can show they CARE.”

The article can be found on Porter’s website at

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