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This page provides links about balancing family and private lives. Although sometimes it feels as though our universities and employers want to own all our time, our real lives are even more important. Sections include Balancing family and science, including the challenges of a dual career relationship; when to have a baby!; issues specific to LGBT scientists, and maintaining your overall Health and wellness
Balancing family and science

Dual Career Couples in science

  • When personal and professional intersect:

    students and professors, or employees and supervisors can get involved romantically or sexually. This is usually considered unprofessional on the part of the senior participant, and fraught with dangers for both. In trying to avoid this, some universities try to prohibit any personal relationships between students and professors.
    • Gender, power and sexuality: first, do no harm "The inevitable power difference between teacher and student, whatever the teacher's intention or motivation, makes it impossible for the student to be a fully consenting adult. "
    • Just don't do it
    • This statement of good practices from U. Wyoming is a sound view of how to handle a genuine romance and avoid even the appearance of conflict, by removing any power relationship from the equation--the student/employee really has to go work for someone else.
    • Coercive or non-consensual interactions are always inappropriate, and fall under the sexual harrassment heading.
    • Love in the Lab from The Scientist. The potential problems are endless, and not only for those involved. This page does not render properly using the Safari browser.

    • Reproductive success: Practical tips on how to look for a job while pregnant.
    • Does Academe hinder parenthood? How to build a good maternity plan policy for faculty
    • Giving birth in graduate school
    • Babies in grad school: good idea, bad idea?
    • Graduate School with children
    • Graduate School with children, first in a series.
    • The pregnant postdoc: several articles from Science's Nextwave discuss maternity in the in-between world of postdocs (password and possibly subscription required)
    • The physics of pregnancy: many postdocs have lousy benefits compared to "real" employees.
    • Postdoc talk: on choosing children from The Scientist
    • Academe's annual baby boom, or it's no coincidence that faculty babies come in the summer.
    • How babies alter academic careers
    • Academic careers with a baby, from UC Davis. If you are wondering how to coordinate the tenure track and having your children, check this out!
    • Where to have the baby
    • Do babies matter? The Effect of Family Formation on the Lifelong Careers of Academic Men and Women, from the AAUP. Take home message: while children definitely hinder the career progression of women academics, even childless women lag behind men, so it's not all about the family. Single women without children were also more likely than men to consider leaving academia. There was less of a predictable pattern here, but some such women mentioned social isolation as a negative factor. Bench laboratory science, the chosen specialty of most of these postdocs, can be very isolating--postdocs may meet few people outside of their laboratory. This is the group of women that is most likely to achieve tenure; but its members are also more likely than single men to remain single. All ... groups of women expressed concerns about mentoring, and 32 percent of women were dissatisfied with their relationships with their mentors in comparison to 18 percent of men.
    • Do Babies Matter Part II. Does achieving academic success first leave time for children later?
    • From the Chronicle: Do babies matter in science? Nationally, "married with children" is the academic-success formula for men, but the opposite is true for women, for whom there is a serious "baby gap." Among scientists who achieved tenure, 72 percent of the men are married with children as opposed to only 50 percent of women. Is that gender equity?
    • Stopping the clock on grants?
    • Family friendly competition: lots of universities are starting to get on the band wagon to provide child support for young faculty. Among them, Princeton is also working toMake grad school family friendly. Nice to have money!
    • Sylvia Ann Hewlitt's new book describes the conflict for women in high-powered careers between professional and family responsibilities, leading to a disproportionate number of single, childless professional women. A press release describes the underlying survey data. Two articles from the Chronicle discuss the academic perpective:
    • A backlash against parents?
        Academic bias against mothers? from The Chronicle
      • Choice feminism: whose choice is it anyway?
      • Discrimination against women and parents in promotion? This article from The Scientist provides an overview of a 1994 suit against Vassar College.
      • The backlash against academic parents " The problem, it seems to me, is that issues of equity have been framed in the context of balancing work and family life. Understandably, this renders the concerns of people without children or other family obligations as irrelevant. ..... Defining work-life issues as family issues tends to marginalize these dilemmas and to suggest they are only women's issues.....the same norms that block gender equity also undermine everyone's effort to integrate work into the fabric of their lives."
    • ...or the other way around?
      • Who cheats the childless? and who is to blame for the backlash of ill feeling against family friendly policies? This article considers some of the reasons that spousal hires and childcare considerations have led to conflict in the ranks. For an example of that conflict, read some of the entries in this Chronicle on line colloquium.
      • Singular mistreatment: the unmarried professor is an outsider in academe.
      • Or not: An unexpected minority: she doesn't have kids. I couldn't believe that I was struggling to meet anyone who could go out for a drink.
    • Why "family first" is not a win for academic feminists. "Female professors and would-be professors owe a lot to those who will follow us. We owe them a more family-friendly workplace, and we owe them a profession in which women and men take their jobs and their personal lives equally seriously."
    • Parental leave policies
    •   childcare policies
    • Finding a balance between family and work, from The Chronicle. Also see Setting limits in the ivory tower, from a promising new column in the Chronicle about work and family called Balancing Act
    • Balancing Family and academic work, from the AAUP provides a resource for faculty and institutions.
    • Statement of Principles on Family Responsibilities and Academic Work from the American Association of University Professors."Transforming the academic workplace into one that supports family life requires substantial changes in policy and, more significantly, changes in academic culture..... it is essential that the priorities, workloads, rewards structure, and values of the academy permit and support an integration of family and work. Without such support, the commitment to gender equity, for both women and men, will be seriously compromised."
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