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

Libby Porter libby.porter at rmit.edu.au
Thu Aug 4 18:38:35 AEST 2016

Thanks Francis for your careful and thoughtful consideration of what is
really at stake in this discussion. That this is a discussion we are still
having in 2016 is remarkable - there's a basic equity issue at stake. And
there are many other equity issues to discuss besides, for example better
support for Indigenous researchers to participate.

The minute we think any of these issues have gone away is the very moment
we must examine carefully our own privilege, for it is that privilege that
will be hiding structural inequality.

Thanks to Francis, and the 2017 conference organisers for taking these
things seriously.


On 3 August 2016 at 20:53, Francis Markham <francis.markham at anu.edu.au>

> 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%
> <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/4153.0Main%20Features22006?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=4153.0&issue=2006&num=&view=>
> 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
> <https://kaigi.eventsair.com/QuickEventWebsitePortal/iag-2016/info/Agenda>,
> 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*,
> doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2016.04.001
> 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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