As an academic community, there are things we can all do to address this important issue.
I believe the most important thing is to change the culture of ‘frowning upon parents attending with children in tow’. Let us encourage and support people to bring their children along (smiling not frowning). I’ve sat in sessions where presenters have brought their children and it worked fine. (The children were less disruptive than some of the adults who came in late and banged the door.)
Another thing we can do is design social events which are child-friendly. In my experience, the formal conference dinner is not at all child friendly and I’ve needed to skip the dinner when travelling with my own kids. By contrast I’ve been to other conferences with outdoor social activities during daylight hours (e.g. picnics) which would be better suited to delegates travelling with kids.
Another thing we could do is encourage conference organisers to provide a mix of accommodation types which include options conducive to families. It is frequently possible to rent a self-catering apartment for the same price as a hotel room. Attention to this is potentially more effective than subsidising standard accommodation options (which may not be well suited to families.)
I expect others would have constructive critique of the above and put forward alternative ideas. So thanks Francis for raising this issue.
Tom Measham, PhD
Adaptive Social and Economic Systems|Land and Water
E Tom.Measham@csiro.au T +61 2 62464319
GPO Box 1700, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
Adjunct Associate Professor ANU Fenner School
Researcher ID | Google Scholar
Recent paper on regional socio-economic impacts of unconventional fossil fuels: http://dx.doi.org//10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.12.002
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
On Behalf Of Francis Markham
Sent: Thursday, 7 July 2016 11:05 AM
To: The Institute of Australian Geographers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [Iag-list] Support for parents to attend IAG 2017
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?
Fenner School of Environment and Society
Building 48, Linnaeus Way
The Australian National University
Acton ACT 2601
M +61 4 8819 6318
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. 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? Applied Geography, doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2016.04.001