Science or family? Do we really need to choose?
At this year’s International Women’s Day on March 8th, NIC organized a round table entitled “Science or family? Should we really choose? ‘. The table was focussed around the question of what obstacles – and also perhaps myths – researchers encounter at different stages of their research career. In this context, we were particularly interested in whether it is possible to start, above all, to retain a career in science with mounting family obligations? This topic that is often “female”, but it also affects more and more men whose family is important to them.
The disscutants were Prof. Dr. Marta Klanjšek Gunde (NIC), dr. Ema Žagar (NIC), dr. Jernej Stare (NIC), doc. dr. Matjaž Kljun (UP FAMNIT), assistant. Sara Zupan (UP FAMNIT) and Liljana Rušnjak (NLZOH). The round table was led by dr. Mojca Dušica Zajc the coordinator of the project Plotina at NIC. Guests and participants of the round table were welcomed by the Vice President of the Scientific Council of the NIC, prof. dr. Jože Grdadolnik.
We looked for answers to the above-mentioned dilemmas through the lenses of career advice from various media (such as Men’s Health, Planet of Beauty and jobseekers’ portal mojedelo.com), current social debates surrounding it, and of course through personal experience. Questions discussed by the guests touched on the support of the family and the partner in the combinations of study or work and family responsibilities, the search for work after maternity leave, the attitude to part-time work, sick leave due to children’s illness, as well as appearances at the workplace and socializing or networking outside of regular working hours.
Among the more interesting statements that we could hear are the following:
“We spend a lot of time at the institute and it is very difficult to reconcile this with the family” (Prof. Dr. Jože Grdadolnik)
“Being a parent and being a researcher – you are and you never stop being it. There is a lot of improvisation in family life, but where the will is also the way. I always emphasize that me and my wife are equal, but we have equal rights. “(Dr. Jernej Stare, MD)
“In general, there is no place for “smart” in the dressing of scientists” (Prof. Dr Marta Klanjšek Gunde)
“Looking good is welcome. Sometimes I wear high and sometimes low heels, this has not meant any difference in my success. It’s not clothes, it’s the knowledge, or once more – the knowledge that can disarm anyone, including a man. “(Dr. Ema Žagar)
After the interesting discussions, the audience, who filled the venue to the last corner, also had it say: from pointing to a wider institutional environment that does not always follow the principles of equal opportunities, to the conclusion that sometimes stupid statements relating to gender equality should be questioned.
The event was co-organized through the PLOTINA projects of the National Institute of Chemistry and StarBios2, Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technology, University of Primorska. In the StarBios2 project, Faculty is actively involved in the implementation of the principles of responsible science in the university and research environment. One of the key points of responsible science is the equal opportunities for both genders.
Photos: Andrej Perdih; Text: Nataša Jager Radin
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