Today I read an article about supporting young mothers working in science, by letting them bringing their babies and kids to scientific conferences. While this idea very superfluously seems to support mothers in science; it can only strengthen an already marked sexism debilitating women in their field of work.
Part of "Father and son"- Story of the Ilustrator. Erich Ohsers (E.O. Plauen) 2
And here I explain why.
As a father working in science, married to a scientist, and both attending regularly to scientific conferences; I would personally not have a problem seeing mothers breast-feeding their babies or kids running through poster (but not Conference) sessions. However, I doubt that any parent would be fully able to concentrate on networking, giving a presentation or trying to get the most of such a meeting while the own child needs to be fed or simply needs some attention.
It will almost certainly be boring enough for any child, as for the most of the adult population, to hear for hours how protein “X” interact with peptide “Y” and what the p value was for that control group that no one really understands.
The whole idea seems to support mothers, but what it indeed does is to openly support sexism by assuming that mothers alone should take care of their children, even at work; leaving fathers behind or undisturbed at their workplaces.
The easiest solutions to consider are:
1. Fathers to take responsibility of their children specially while mamas have to work and no other childcare option is available.
2. Although difficult to conciliate in all countries, easier childcare options at the working place, and conferences in this case, calls for an intrinsic change of national policies in some countries that should favor mothers (and families) working not only in science but in any other job.
An insider tip, there are countries that support paid maternal/paternal leave and grant easy childcare options.
1. Nature 555, 551 (2018)http://www.deutschlandfunk.de/comic-zeichner-e-o-plauen-goebbels-verzieh-ihm-nie.871.de.html?dram:article_id=305835