CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 Promotes Gender and Racial Equity in STEM Workplaces
August 4, 2022
In a difficult year for the care economy, there has been a small but impactful victory.
The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, passed on July 28, includes a key caregiving provision. The provision entitled “Broadening Participation in Science” increases flexibility for individuals working in the sciences when they have caregiving responsibilities. This increased flexibility promotes gender and racial equity in STEM workplaces and ensures people have the time they need to care for their loved ones.
NETWORK has worked on the need for paid family and medical leave and other policies that support caregivers for decades. While many industries still struggle to create environments that encourage equity and diversity, women and especially women of color in STEM fields are faced with both barriers to entry and internal barriers to full participation.
This provision is a critical step towards ensuring no people in STEM fields are penalized for having caregiving responsibilities. Specifically, the provision requires every federal science agency to establish policies that allow for flexibility regarding the timing of federal research grants if a principal investigator of a grant has a caregiving role. This provision does not alter the benefit policies at any individual institution but instead removes barriers currently in place by encouraging flexibility for specifically outlined responsibilities.
Providing support to families in the STEM field is a necessary step to preventing impossible decisions between economic stability and their loved ones needs. This provision will help women in STEM fields stay working and combat biases that are present in the workplace while simultaneously encouraging more men to take on more caregiving responsibilities at home.
In June, NETWORK joined our organizational partners in sending a letter to the Conference Committee on Bipartisan Innovation and Competition Legislation in support of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. See the letter here:USICA-COMPETES_ Caregiving Provision Support Letter