Finding work in bio, with kids

Syndallas Baughman sbaughma at
Sun Mar 19 19:34:33 EST 1995

   This thread reappears all the time on this group and it's a discussion
that I have with my peers frequently.  Recently one of the faculty members
in my department (Eco Evo @UCIrvine) organized a job skills seminar.  The
graduate students choose the topics and the the faculty organized
seminars.  One of the topics was academic careers and family. We ended up
talking about when we should have kids.  Unfortunately most of the faculty
attending were male.  They all said that if we wanted kids we should have
them or we would regret it (I agree) and that we should have them when we
were relatively young. (One faculty member told us about a difficult late
   The thing that bugs me is this .... every time this topic comes up it's
like we hit some kind of wall.  It sucks that the make it or break it time
in my career completely overlaps with the time when biologically I should
be having kids.  I look around my department and it's pretty clear that
child bearing tends to slow down women's careers a lot more than men's. 
So when I'm trying to land a tenured postion I'm going to be handicapped
because I want children but if you compared my work to a male faculty
members a few years later I'd be just as productive.  It's pretty clear to
me that the system should change. 
   We discussed defering tenure reviews for a year and some faculty
members said that that could work against you.
   I think it sucks that the way things are set up now I have this Devil's
bargain before me.  I like the work.  I really enjoy research and I like
teaching. I don't mind 10+ hour days.  I'm just realistic enough to know
that a couple of kids will slow me down in my early 30's and I don't think
it should be asking to much to ask a biology department to recognize that
women get pregnant.

   sorry if this is disjointed

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