Mummy goes to a conference

How does she survive?  One thing she might be able to use is a room for breastfeeding. 

Does anyone have experience organizing childcare for parents at a conference?  Any suggestions about that? 

Any other suggestions for making academic conferences more welcoming for Mummy or Daddy?

Anecdotes are welcome!

(Thanks to KA for raising the topic.)

5 thoughts on “Mummy goes to a conference

  1. I organised a (very small) conference/seminar on gender and enterprise about five years ago, and wanted to put information about childcare support (we didn’t have facilities for a creche, but were prepared to subsidise private arrangements) on the invitation stuff. My boss told me not to, in case it put men off coming…

  2. I would love to have arrangements for evening babysitters– I mean, I’d be thrilled with a couple names of reliable local students. Jender-Son goes to bed around 7, but unless there is some provision for babysitting, Mr J and I don’t get to do any socialising in the evening.

  3. mr lp and i have seen conferences we’d both like to attend, but can’t because we wouldn’t have a way to find trustworthy childcare in the city where the conference is held. we think departments that put on conferences should round up interested and reliable students to be available for babysitting during/around the conference.

  4. Well, here is an anectode. A Canuck philosopher once presented at the EPTC (one of the many associations that meets at the Canadian spring congress) with her toddler not only in tow but literally in her arms. I did not know what to think, i.e. whether it was a statement (I am a mother/philosopher) or whether it was just “damned, there is no daycare at this conference”. It probably was a joyful combination of both. The toddler was very quiet and actually looked like he was observing us much more than we were him! I bet the socializing was different for this parent.
    I am sure this philosopher would have appreciated some daycare at the conference.

  5. I would love to see a discussion of a book, _Mama PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life_ on this blog. I loved reading this book. It lays bare the difficulties that mothers experience in the academic world when they seek, or intended to seek, an academic career.

    The book is not just about philosophers, however. I found I related better to the entries that were from written by those from more male dominated fields such as the sciences, rather than, say, English, or sociology, for example.

    This post reminds me of the book. The childcare at conferences issue, and the idea of a scholar presenting with a small child in tow are both discussed in the book.

    It would be very helpful for mothers, and other primary caregivers, if babysitting were provided at conferences. Furthermore, conferences that are scheduled during traditional family time, when the children are off from school (over Xmas break, for example) are very difficult for mothers of small children to participate in, and are difficult in general for families. There are other times of the year that are difficult for mothers of small children, such as the months of September, June, & December on the whole, plus early January. Basically, anytime children are transitioning in and out of school, it’s a hard time to leave them home or bring them on a trip.

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