I was reading this post that proposes a “family-friendly wage” to enable female postdocs to stay in academia, regardless of whether they want to have kids or not. Which I think is a good idea in general. Maybe not only in “hard” money, but also in on-site facilities that enable child-care for example.
What really got my attention though, was this:
Given that the average age of PhD awardees is 31, women postdocs fall somewhere on the sharply declining portion of the female fertility curve. This is a crucial biological difference between women and men that may partly explain the skew in departures from academic science.
Can someone please fill me in why the average age of PhD awardees should be 31?? For your information on my background, what the “model” student could achieve in the Netherlands:
- 4-12y: primary school
- 12-18y: high school
- 18-21y: bachelor
- 21-23y: master
- 23-26/28y: PhD
May not sound like such a big difference, but I guess it really matters. I was 26 when finishing my PhD. My maybe too optimistic idea is to spend a maximum of 5 years as postdoc and then start as junior group leader somewhere. I will be 31 then. And, in my imagination, in the position to continue work and combine this with kids. Maybe I’m dreaming though, as future will tell undoubtedly.
But yes, my question to all of you: what is the main reason why the average age of PhD awardees is 31? Maybe this is something that can/should be changed to increase the chances of women in academia…