Teach your children well
Jan20

Teach your children well

In another great guest post, landscape ecologist Lisa Schulte Moore shares stories of infusing everyday kid activities with a connection to science and nature—and, most importantly, having fun doing it.

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The great work-life balancing act

Can women (or parents?) ever have it all? by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer Erin McKittrick and her daughter Lituya at remote Malaspina glacier on the coast of Alaska. Credit, Erin McKittrick,  Bretwood Higman,  Ground Truth Trekking, 2011.   The trials of balancing a competitive research career on top of the other demands and joys of life, most prominently family, is a perennial obsession of ESA’s Ecolog-L listserv. This April, a passionate conversation emerged in response to a question about taking children into the field—sometimes angry, and often heartfelt. It eventually spawned a related conversation about “work-life balance” for women on academic career tracks. A similar conversation has been storming through blogs and news columns over the last few weeks. It seems like everyone everywhere (at least among the chattering classes) has been talking about the Atlantic’s July/August cover story “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.” At over 775,000 views it is the most-clicked article in Atlantic history. It ran with an incendiary cover photo of a naked toddler in a briefcase (none of author Anne-Marie Slaughter’s doing I’m sure). The “still,” Slaughter told Hannah Rosin emphatically on Slate’s June 27th Double X podcast, is essential to her thesis. Because she is not making the categorical statement that women can’t have it all. The article is a commentary on the current US situation as she sees it and has experienced it, and wants to see change.  The “still” is important “because otherwise I’m a poster-child for saying women can’t have it all, when I want to be saying women can, and men can, but we have to make a whole bunch of changes to get there,” she said in the interview. Following her dive into feminist politics, Slaughter kicks off with her personal revelation that for most of her career, she had an unusually good deal: as an academic, she enjoyed a level of control over her time that is far from universal for working parents. Her workload wasn’t exactly light as a full professor and dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, but it was malleable to interruptions for teacher-parent conferences, soccer games, family dinners, music lessons and sick children. She could work from home after hours, and work around daytime errands. Her flexible schedule, she writes, was key to having it all, but she did not appreciate her privileges until she left the ivory tower and spent a couple of years in Washington, working long days on the rigid office schedule expected of most of the American workforce. In January 2011, after two years under Hilary Clinton as director of policy planning...

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