What it's like to be a woman in science and how to make it better
This article was published in September 2015 in The Conversation. The co-authors of the original piece (shown here is an extract) are Nalini Joshi, Tanya Monro, Maggie Hardy, Suzanne Cory and Amanda Barnard.
PhD student, DNA Repair Group, Hunter Medical Research Centre and University of Newcastle
During my science outreach work, I get so excited when I see little girls getting interested in science. But I’ve had parents ask me what it’s like to work in academia, and I have to honestly tell them that it’s probably in their kids’ best interests to look elsewhere.
We spend so much effort thinking about ways to make science – especially maths and physics – more accessible and interesting for girls. But, to be honest, that’s not even half the battle.
People shouldn’t have to compromise between having a happy family and having a fulfilling career. Yet, so often it falls to women to make the difficult decisions. Having children doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.
I’ve seen so many wonderful female colleagues who’ve found returning to work so challenging and inflexible, that they’re unable to continue on with that same passion for science as before they left.
The academic structure grew up around a world comprised of full time workers with full time wives. It’s not going to evolve of its own accord to support a modern workforce comprised of both genders, working part and full time together. The SAGE initiative provides an opportunity for us to reclaim the academic structure to make it work for us and everyone.