[Iag-list] Support for parents to attend IAG 2017

Francis Markham francis.markham at anu.edu.au
Wed Aug 3 20:53:15 AEST 2016

Dear IAGers,

Thank you for your discussion on this.

On your first point Bruce, I agree that a screaming child in a conference
session might be distracting, but I'm sure the disruption would be minimal
if a parent or carer can step outside to sooth their child. Other
conferences I've attended seem to manage this without drama. And as much as
I'd like to flatter myself and liken my own conference presentation in
Adelaide to a Mozart symphony, I doubt many who attended would agree. In
any case, the provision of subsidised childcare may ameliorate this
particular issue, as Candice points out.

However, I think we should all be able to agree that the issue of children
restricting professional progress is not gender neutral. As of 2006, women
do 73%
of the unpaid care work for children under four years old in Australia. And
clearly academic geography in Australia, as represented by the IAG meeting
in 2016, has its own gender problems. Plenty of women geographers have
stories of experiencing gender-based discrimination, and this appears to
contribute to the "leaky pipeline" effect familiar from other academic
disciplines. According to my quick count from this year's program
62% [95% C.I. 48%-73%] of HDR students presenting at the IAG meeting in
2016 were women but 71% [95% C.I. 48%-89%] of full professors presenting
were men (levels B - D were more representative of the HDR cohort). On this
basis, I think is clear that assisting those caring for children to attend
is an equity issue.

On the matter of the IAG's mandate to promote of the study and application
of geography in Australia, I think its worth pointing out that those who
are unlikely to attend without assistance are among the best and brightest
of the PhD/ECR cohort (at least in my opinion). Without their attendance at
conferences or their deserved career progression, the study and application
of geography in Australia will be retarded. Leaving justice and equity
aside, geography as a discipline in Australia would be well served by
aiding their attendance. And in terms of funding practicalities, the IAG
already engages in subsidising conference registration fees for different
groups as a matter of course. I don't see why this should be any different.

On that basis, I'm heartened to hear that the 2017 conference conveners are
taking this matter seriously. Judging from the many supportive emails I
received off list, I'm not alone in thinking that this would be a positive
step for the IAG.

Best wishes,

Francis Markham
PhD candidate
Fenner School of Environment and Society
Building 48, Linnaeus Way
The Australian National University
Acton ACT 2601

M +61 4 8819 6318
francis.markham at anu.edu.au

*Latest publications:*
Markham, F., Young, M., & Doran, B. (2016). The relationship between player
losses and gambling-related harm: evidence from nationally representative
cross-sectional surveys in four countries <http://doi.org/10.1111/add.13178>.
*Addiction*, doi:10.1111/add.13178
Sloan, N., Doran, B., Markham, F. & Pammer, K. (2016). *Does base map size
and imagery matter in sketch mapping?
<http://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2016.04.001>* *Applied Geography*,

On 27 July 2016 at 19:29, Brian Finlayson <brianlf at unimelb.edu.au> wrote:

> Of course there is also the issue of whether the kids want to go to a
> geography conference.  My lot never did.
> Brian Finayson
> From: <iag-list-bounces at flinders.edu.au> on behalf of BRUCE RYAN <
> cincinnati5 at bigpond.com>
> Date: Wednesday, 27 July 2016 3:36 PM
> To: Institute of Australian Geographers <iag-list at flinders.edu.au>
> Subject: [Iag-list] Support for parents to attend IAG 2017
> July 27, 2016
> Whether the IAG should financially support members who bring their babies
> to IAG conferences raises three questions. First, should members be
> encouraged to bring their children to conferences? Second, should members
> with other dependents (or disabilities of their own) be assisted in
> attending conferences? Third, are these the best uses of IAG funds? Here
> are my suggestions.
> 1. As an octogenarian grandfather with two children of my own, I empathize
> with parents whose children restrict their professional progress. Our
> compensation is the glory that children bring to our lives. But I believe
> there are occasions when the absence of children is desirable. I recently
> heard a baby cry in the Sydney Opera House during a symphony concert. It
> shattered the experience for devotees who listen attentively to classical
> music. I’m also aware that several airlines now allocate “child-free”
> seating, presumably because many travellers want to sleep. Engagement in
> deep thought (in libraries or conferences) can also be disrupted by noisy
> children (not to mention mobile phones).
> 2. If the IAG is willing to support mothers with babies, shouldn’t it also
> support parents with “dependent” school children? Some members of my
> own “dinosaur” generation can only travel to conferences if their “carer”
> accompanies them, perhaps pushing a wheelchair. Should “carers” expect
> financial assistance from the IAG? Are there no Stephen Hawkings in
> geography? Alternatively, couldn’t conference sessions or keynote talks
> be streamed live on the internet? That would benefit non-attendees as well
> as those looking after children (or dinosaurs) in an interactive conference
> room?
> 3. In the IAG’s constitution, only one of its six “objects” is to sponsor
> conferences. Our web page describes the IAG’s primary role as “promoting
> the study and application of geography in Australia.” That should be the
> main criterion when our Councillors weigh the benefits (and propriety) of
> dividing our funds among scholarships, research grants, publications,
> publicity, and travel to conferences. The Biblical King Solomon had an
> easier time “splitting the baby.”
> 5 Minnamurra Street
> Kiama, NSW 2533
> Australia
> Phone 61+2+4233 1525
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