The public and compulsory curriculum for all scientists in Brazil, Lattes, will have an additional field in the coming days. In addition to information on bibliographic production and participation in congresses, women researchers can also fill a new area for maternity leave.
The new section “Licenses” can optionally be completed by researchers from April 15th.
The creation of this area is an old demand by Brazilian scientists that was reinforced a few years ago. This was one of the main proposals of the first Brazilian Symposium on Motherhood and Science, held in Porto Alegre in 2018.
This is where the #maternidadenolattes campaign came from. A series of talks on maternity leave in the curriculum with CNPq, a federal agency promoting scientific research affiliated with the Ministry of Science that administers Lattes, also left the event.
The Lattes curriculum contains more than seven million curricula that are regularly updated by professional researchers from across the country and by academics in higher education. In the latter case, more than half of the people enrolled (54.5%) are women.
Lattes data form the basis for important scientific decisions in Brazil. Graduate programs and government agencies that promote science, for example, rely on information from Lattes to decide who will be approved in a selection process.
Lattes are also used in public tenders for researchers and professors at universities and research institutes and are constantly promoting the careers of these professionals.
The point is, the Lattes curriculum of scholars who had children is now out of context in their education and academic production, which can be very detrimental to assessments. In practice, these are declines in scientific production for no discernible “cause”. For this reason, some scholars who have had children have begun to improvise information into the opening text of their Lattes curriculum (a kind of summary of their own authorship).
The beginning of the lattes by the biologist Fernanda Staniscuaski from the UFRGS (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul) informs, for example, that she works with plant-based aquaporins and has completed a postdoctoral internship at the University of Toronto (Canada). It concludes: “Mother of three children, she was on maternity leave in 2013, 2015 and 2018.”
Staniscuaski is one of the creators of the Brazilian Parent in Science project, a movement that arose to debate fatherhood and, of course, motherhood among scientists in Brazil – and which organized the 2018 Symposium on Motherhood and Science .
It is even mentioned by CNPq in a note sent to Folha about the new area of Lattes: “This development aims to meet the needs of representatives of the scientific community and partner institutions, particularly the research-coordinated Parent in Science movement
Internally at CNPq, the inclusion of maternity leave in Lattes was led by the Director of Institutional Cooperation, Zaira Turchi, and the Director of Engineering, Precision, Human and Social Sciences, Adriana Tonini.
No other country puts together up-to-date curricula for all its scientists as in Brazil, which makes Lattes a globally successful initiative.
However, key institutions such as the NIH (National Institute of Health of the USA) require in their selection processes that scientists explain personal problems that may have led to temporary interruptions or declines in scientific production in their curricula. This includes periods beyond maternity leave, such as B. Sick leave.
According to the CNPq, the new “Licenses” area in Lattes should in future be expanded to include further forms of withdrawal and the interruption of training and scientific production. For this purpose, requirements are checked.
“In a broader sense, we need to talk about career breaks,” says Staniscuaski. “They occur for a number of reasons and need to be considered.”