So many people struggle anymore to balance spending time at their job and with their families. And its not just women. Just a few days ago Darren Rowse from Problogger made the following comment at Plurk:
problogger is wondering how to strike a balance between being an available father to a toddler (who knows where he is in his study) and getting work done
For those in academic science its much worse. Especially for women. There have been a few discussions about this in the blogosphere recently: Does Academe Hinder Parenthood?, A few thoughts on female academics and children and How hard do academics with kids really have it compared to the rest of the working world?
Based on what I saw in graduate school I have to agree that it is very difficult. The department I was in had only one female faculty member, she had no children and it was pretty obvious she wasn’t going to. I only knew of one female graduate student who had a child, she was Chinese and her child lived in China and was being raised by grandparents. She likely only saw her child once a year, if that. I knew a guy in graduate school whose wife got pregnant, he was afraid to let his graduate adviser know.
For women its pretty much impossible to have kids while in graduate school or doing a post-doc, or while trying to get tenure. If everything goes smoothly and you can get tenure at all you will be in your late 30’s and it may be too late to have kids. It tends to be easier for men, they can work the long hours and have a wife that stays at home or has a non-demanding job.
As much as I love science, its pathetic how anti-family and sexist the academic environment is. In the links above some readers even left the following comments:
“When I serve on a hiring committee or select graduate students to work in my lab, I don’t want any with children.”
“Those who choose this profession like it, and should not have babies”
What is the solution? I don’t know. But at some point the academic environment needs to change, move into the 21st century and let people live full lives – both men and women.
If you like this post please share or vote for it below:
- Work + Life + Family = Interconnectivity
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