Hello all, 

1) Most people don't choose to work from 6am to 10pm; those decisions are 
typically driven by economic necessity. Remember that not everyone may have 
access to the same choices, education, opportunities, and benefits that, say, a 
tenure-track professor or a federal employee has. Having to work long hours and 
multiple jobs should not be treated as a reflection of the quality of one's 
parenting or the love such a person has for their children. 

2) Conflating the plight of the working poor with the choice of a woman to have 
a career and a family is false equivalence. The examples we've talked about, 
including the original example of a mother asking for advice on how to take her 
child into the field (not IF, but HOW) are not comparable with a 6am to 10pm 
example. In both cases, I'd argue that better institutional support systems 
(healthcare, childcare, etc) would be beneficial, but that's another 
discussion. This isn't to say that a parent in either situation isn't deserving 
of support, but just that if we're going to discuss work-life balance, we need 
to remember that for some, work-life balance is a choice, and for others it's a 

3) Positive models of work-life balance must apply to both fathers and mothers. 
For the system to be truly equal, we must be equally "concerned" that fathers 
spend as much time with their children as mothers, and likewise equally 
accepting of mothers who want to work full-time. For decades, the icon of the 
man working long hours to support his family was considered a noble one. By 
acknowledging that mothers and fathers are equally deserving of attention and 
protection, it takes away some of the burden on mothers to be the sole parent 
of concern when it comes to child-rearing.

4) This has been a frustrating discussion to follow, in that I have found it 
incredibly alienating to me as a woman academic with plans of someday having 
children. In some ways, it's been useful to learn the ways in which 
institutional sexism is still prevalent amongst academics (male and female), 
but I wonder if people are genuinely thinking of the consequences of what they 
say, and how damaging some of these statements must be to young women reading 
the list and considering academic careers and motherhood? I speak not for 
myself-- fortunately, women in science is a strong interest of mine and I've 
got a good network of women scientists-- many of whom are mothers and very 
successul academics. 

5) Work-life balance discussions are relevant to people without children, also. 
Just because someone doesn't have kids doesn't mean they should be thought to 
be able to devote 100% of their time and attention to work. We need to consider 
the health and well-being of individuals as well as their hypothetical children.

If we truly want to increase the diversity within our disciplines, then we must 
be accepting of multiple models of work-life-balance, for men and women. This 
means incorporating structures that support working parents, including things 
like breast-feeding space and time, maternity leave, access to affordable 
daycare, and a flexible tenure clock. It also means accepting that parenthood 
comes with a number of choices, and just because someone makes different 
choices than you (e.g., daycare staying at home for the first few years) 
doesn't mean either choices are invalid. Those choices may 
have repercussions to a career (leaving a field for several years is a 
difficult hurdle to overcome) but that should really be the only aspect of that 
decision that is up for public discussion. 

If you have found these discussions alienating or they have caused you to doubt 
whether you are fit for a career in ecology, please feel free to contact me 
off-list. I can point you to some resources. 

Best wishes,


On 04.29.12, karen golinski  <golinski.li...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I wonder how a person who is regularly away from home from 6 AM until after
> 10 PM really raises a family? Most kids are sleeping during the "at home"
> time of 10 PM-6 AM.
> It saddens me to think that people want to silence the discussion of
> positive models of work-life balance. Just because people have to work the
> long hours described below does not mean it is a good (or productive) way
> to live our lives.
> On Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 1:20 PM, Robert Hamilton 
> <roberthamil...@alc.edu>wrote:
> > I must say that I find this conversation somewhat embarrassing, and hope
> > it never gets out into the public domain. I have and have always had
> > friends and neighbours who work 2 or 3 jobs to keep things going.
> > Literally going to work at 6AM and not coming home till after 10PM
> > working jobs at places like Walmart and McDonalds. Lots of people work
> > 8+ hours per say 50 weeks a year, like say my Dad, and had no problem
> > raising a family and contributing to the community. This whole thing is
> > a study in extreme narcissism. How's that for a wet blanket!
> >
> > Robert Hamilton, PhD
> > Professor of Biology
> > Alice Lloyd College
> > Pippa Passes, KY 41844
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Ecological Society of America: grants, jobs, news
> > Of Jahi Chappell
> > Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2012 10:07 PM
> > Subject: Re: [ECOLOG-L] Families in Science - Balancing your personal
> > and professional life
> >
> > While putting resources into science, including ecology, is of course a
> > wonderful, necessary, and valuable thing, assuredly supporting our own
> > families with our presence, time, and energy (and societal resources) is
> > at least as wonderful, necessary, and valuable. Indeed, as many benefits
> > as flow from science and science funding, we know that having strong
> > families and communities makes everyone better off, ceteris parabus, and
> > having strong families and communities requires time and resource
> > investment from everyone.
> >
> > Even granting the proposition that we in the US produce the "best and
> > most successful scientists in the world", all accounts indicate that we
> > certainly don't produce the highest average of "happy and most secure
> > and successful families in the world." We have a *lot* of those, but
> > alas, our median is likely much lower than our mean, and both are likely
> > behind countries like those Andres analyzed. So much of what so many are
> > lacking are basic needs, connections, support networks, and resources,
> > something depending as much or more on good and participatory governance
> > than new scientific discovery--we need more time for more participation
> > outside our work and research, not less.
> >
> > On 4/27/12 10:22 AM, "David L. McNeely" <mcnee...@cox.net> wrote:
> >
> > This is not meant as a wet blanket, as I encourage family friendly
> > employment practices for all countries and for all occupations. But, I
> > wonder how those figures would look if all areas of science were
> > considered? It may be that smaller economies, and the Scandinavian
> > countries in particular, put a greater fraction of their available
> > resources for scientific research into ecology than do larger economies
> > and non-Scandinavian countries. Is U.S. science more diversified than
> > Finnish or Icelandic science?
> >
> >
> > David McNeely
> >
> > ---- Andres Lopez-Sepulcre <lopezsepul...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Since we're at it, it did the same calculation for all four countries
> > ranked first in gender equality by the Global Gender Gap Report. All
> > four, as far as I remember, provide generous paternity leaves that
> > guarantee job security and can be shared between mother and father.
> > ISI indexed publications in Ecology per capita (countries ranked in
> > order of 'gender equality index')
> > Iceland: 1167
> > Norway: 1794
> > Finland: 1500
> > Sweden: 1361
> > Not only do these countries do significantly better in ecology 'per
> > capita' than the less family-oriented scientific powerhouses (e.g.
> > USA: 650, UK: 660), but it almost seems that if anything, their ranking
> > in the gender equality index is correlated with their productivity, not
> > an 'impediment' ... safe for Iceland, but do remember that Iceland
> > suffered the largest financial collapse in world history in these last 5
> > years.
> > Even when this small sample and oversimplified analysis is not proof of
> > anything, I hope it can change peoples' perceptions that countries that
> > have increased social welfare, gender equality and more protective
> > labour laws are less productive.
> > Andres Lopez-Sepulcre
> > Laboratoire d'Ecologie, UMR 7625
> > Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris
> > alo...@biologie.ens.fr
> > http://web.me.com/asepulcre
> > On Apr 27, 2012, at 6:43 PM, Cecilia Hennessy wrote:
> > PERFECT response, thank you so much! If we Americans could stop patting
> > ourselves on the back long enough to realize that other countries have
> > successful ways of doing things too, maybe we could learn from
> > international example and progress more efficiently.
> > cheers!
> >
> > On Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 7:48 AM, Andres Lopez-Sepulcre
> > <lopezsepul...@gmail.com
> > > wrote:
> > "...however, why should the USA modify the system producing among the
> > best and most successful scientists in the world..."
> >
> > I would simply like to add a quick clarification. I struggled with how
> > to respond to this US-centric statement. There is no doubt that the USA
> > is a scientific powerhouse and I have wonderful things to say about my
> > experience as a scientist there, which has brought me wonderful
> > collaborations I hope last long. However I am not sure it is fair to
> > compare a country of over 300 million inhabitants with another of 5
> > (Finland). In fact, I took the liberty do do a quick search in Web of
> > Science for articles in the area of 'Environmental Sciences and Ecology'
> > for both countries in the last 5 years. USA showed 204,414 in front of
> > 8,119 Finnish articles indexed in ISI. If one thinks 'per capita', the
> > USA has produced 650 indexed articles in ecology per million
> > inhabitants, while Finland has produced 1,500. With this I do not mean
> > to say that Finland is better or worse... but just to show that, when
> > the comparison is done 'fairly', maternity leaves do not seem to be
> > hampering Finnish ecology. Productivity can be achieved without equality
> > and social welfare suffering.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Andres Lopez-Sepulcre
> > Laboratoire d'Ecologie, UMR 7625
> > Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris
> > alo...@biologie.ens.fr
> >
> > http://web.me.com/asepulcre
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Apr 12, 2012, at 6:52 PM, Amanda Quillen wrote:
> >
> > "...however, why should the USA modify the system producing among the
> > best and most successful scientists in the world..."
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Cecilia A. Hennessy
> > PhD Candidate
> > Purdue University
> > 715 W. State St
> > Pfendler Hall, G004
> > West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061
> > lab: 765-496-6868
> > cell: 574-808-9696
> >
> > --
> > David McNeely
> >
> > --
> > M. Jahi Chappell, Ph.D.
> > Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Justice School of the
> > Environment Faculty Affiliate, Center for Social and Environmental
> > Justice Faculty Affiliate, Program in Public Affairs Washington State
> > University Vancouver Vancouver, WA 98686
> >
> > Tel: (360) 546-9413
> > Fax: (360) 546-9064
> > Faculty Page: http://directory.vancouver.wsu.edu/people/michael-chappell
> > Chappell Lab: http://agroecopeople.wordpress.com/
> > Email: m.jahi.chapp...@vancouver.wsu.edu
> >
Jacquelyn Gill(https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/jlgill/web/Home.html)
PhD Candidate
John W. Williams Lab(http://www.geography.wisc.edu/faculty/williams/lab/)

University of Wisconsin - Madison
Department of Geography
550 North Park St.
Madison, WI 53706

608.890.1188 (phone)
608.265.9331 (fax)

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