Dear IAGers,

It was terrific to see so many of you at the IAG meeting in Adelaide last week. Thanks again to the conference organisors.

As a member of an early thirties cohort, a number of my peers are beginning to start families and I'm aware that several of them (all women) are not planning to attend the IAG 2017 in Brisbane. In part, this is because will have babies between now and the 2017 conference.

I say "in part" because the reasons they are unable to attend aren't the babies themselves, but rather the lack of financial support to attend with small children (extra airfares and accomodation expenses for PhDs/ECRs who lack funding) and a perception that attendance with children in-tow would be frowned upon. They are of course, hesitant to raise this matter themselves as they don't want to appear "needy", and so intend to just avoid the conference entirely.

This is clearly a matter of equity. We are all aware of the benefits of attending the IAG annual meetings, yet this option is not available to a small group of our colleagues. This is also an obviously gendered issue, with women still bearing the bulk of familial caring responsibilities in our profession, whether we like it or not. 

So I am proposing that the IAG provide some form of support for new parents (especially new mothers) who wish to attend the 2017 conference. As someone still childless, I'd rather leave it to others to suggest what would actually be helpful (but I do note that the RGS-IBS offers creche facilities and other conferenced include cost defrayal for parents). Anyway, I think this is a conversation worth having as I'd hate for my colleagues with caring responsibilities to needless miss out on the next annual meeting.

Is this something that we'd collectively like to support as a scholarly community?

Kind regards,

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

Latest publications:
Sloan, N., Doran, B., Markham, F. & Pammer, K. (2016). Does base map size and imagery matter in sketch mapping? Applied Geographydoi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2016.04.001