Just think if instead of studying why women do or do not succeed in biomedical research careers or what intervention is needed, the NIH simply provided funds that addressed the “pitfalls” of a life of science. Sort of like the Elsevier Foundation currently does with their New Scholar program. Nature features this refreshingly straightforward approach to helping women succeed as researchers, including the “research” that went into setting up this program:
David Ruth, foundation executive director, says the grants’ focus on childcare, family issues and career advancement grew out of discussions with organizations and agencies internationally, all of which identified early- to mid-career women scientists as most likely to leave the field. They found that concerns about work-life balance were a central reason for the exodus. Ruth says the foundation is trying to spur the development of new programmes to address these conflicts, in hopes of reducing the dropout rate.
I bet it didn’t require a multi-million dollar budget either.