How the global character of higher education has given women a leg up in STEM fields.
International collaborations and the mobility of academics that makes such collaborations possible are both more important but also more politically charged today than they have been in recent years. The Trump administration has unveiled a new executive order banning immigration from six Muslim-majority countries after his initial order, which threatened the movement of students, researchers, and professors (among many others) from the targeted countries, was blocked by the judiciary. Meanwhile, university lawyers have advised members of the academic community already in the United States to postpone any travel outside of the states; and travel outside the country for all foreign nationals is now considered a risk. Researchers at U.S. universities have already expressed fear that they will not be able to continue their research abroad.
The premier reputation boasted by U.S. universities (particularly in science and technology fields) has been precisely because U.S. academia has been open to the world.
These developments are causing great concern in the academic community as the premier reputation boasted by U.S. universities (particularly in science and technology fields) has been precisely because U.S. academia has been open to the world. This openness attracts top talent and extends research collaborations across the globe. Immigrants have long been crucial to making U.S. science “great,” including Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany and escaped the Holocaust. Without immigrants, the United States would have won nearly one-third fewer Nobel prizes and not a single one in 2016 when all six winners were immigrants. Much less discussed, however, is the adverse impact closing national borders may have on the academic careers of women in particular, whose successes in academia have long been shaped and bolstered by having access to international opportunities.