In our career advice and support for female scientists, the issue of reconciling work and family is still an important issue and an area of conflict for many women. This is despite the fact that many organizations are struggling to be more family-friendly and universities have improved their offers in many cases. It’s not enough. Structurally and culturally there is room for improvement. In this context, we would like to draw attention to the work of valued colleagues from our swarm network.
In the Maternity and Science network (www.mutterschaft-wissenschaft.de/), Dr. Sarah Czerney (Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology in Magdeburg) and Dr. Lena Eckert (European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)) faciltate exchange and sensitization. Their new anthology “Motherhood and Science in the Pandemic” was published in July 2022.
The women scientists advocate freedom of choice, reflection on the balance of power in the scientific community, more networking and visibility. They point out how, among other things, fixed-term employment contracts, also in equal opportunities areas, demand for constant availability, informal support structures and backstage areas determine career opportunities and life of scientists who are mothers or want to become mothers.
In addition to the remarkable positive effects, such as increased participation through digitization, overburdening and exhaustion of mothers becomes more and more evident.
The authors also fear that the production of knowledge will be homogenized to the same extent as the knowledge creators themselves. Since this trend is growing dramatically, they see decades of equality efforts at massive risk.
For further reading:
Czerney, Sarah, Lena Eckert and Silke Martin (eds.) (2022): Motherhood and Science in the Pandemic. (In)compatibility between children, care and crisis. Opladen: Barbara Budrich.
Something to listen to:
Everything can also be found on the media echo page of the network: