The GYA Women in Science working group have published “Motherhood in Science – How children change our academic careers“, a collection of 18 fascinatingly personal stories. The publication sheds light on the challenges of motherhood in the science sphere and academia. These challenges range from biased working environments and cultural and traditional expectations, to underdeveloped or missing support systems and feelings of self-guilt in a working parent.

The collected stories highlight the situations of working mothers from Panama and the United States, to Turkey, Ethiopia and India. Most stories recognise the need to find a balance between being a mother and a scientist.

As former working group co-lead Roula Inglesi-Lotz (University of Pretoria, South Africa) says about scientist mothers in her story, “We can do anything we want to, but we cannot do everything we want to.” Or, as Özge Yaka (University of Potsdam, Germany) argues in her chapter, “It is not fair that two ticking clocks pressure academic women: our biologic clock of fertility and the career clock of securing a permanent position.”

The determination to succeed in a scientific career, while also having a family runs as a common thread through the book. From this, the authors identify clear actions that societies, institutions, and families can take to make it easier for women to succeed in what is still a male-dominated arena. At the same time, these stories act as a sign of courage and bravery that will inspire emerging women scientists by showing that while definitely not easy, combining career and family is possible in the end.

Watch the accompanying video here.

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