Today’s first call was small but solid — there were five people, plus myself. It seemed to be a good experience for everyone.
Some take-aways and next steps:
1) We need to be talking about these issues more in general. It’d be great to have thinking about the possibility of parenthood being part of professionalization within existing disciplinary organizations.
Realistically, that’s a long-term goal. At least in the interim, we’re going to hold these conversations about questions related to pregnancy, parenthood, etc. every three months, and some of those conversations may lead to other concrete steps, such as….
2) Creating some guidelines for conferences and events with different levels (gold, silver, bronze or the like) of accessibility and accommodations. This would include logistical like lactation rooms,
childcare, etc., but would also include things like the ability to schedule one’s presentations to facilitate flying in and out (and not having to stay the whole week), virtual presentations, full virtual panels, etc.
3) We talked about the importance of trying to make grad school a safe place to have kids — and the sort of support systems that need to be in place to make that work. (One participant noted that all
the people she knew who had kids in grad school had at least one grandparent nearby to help with childcare.) This has to happen on an institution-by-institution level, unfortunately, but there might be a place for cross-institutional advocacy.
Please let me know if you’d like to contribute to any of the above efforts, particularly #2! We’ll also be putting out a call for input via Twitter, etc.
We’ve also decided that our next conversation will be around “happiness vs. security” — figuring out what you need in your living situation to be happy (e.g. living in a rural/urban environment, living
in a state with LGBTQ-friendly laws, having one or more kids, having a certain kind of job) vs. what options support financial security, and how people make those compromises.