How do male scientists balance lab life with home life? – AAAS MemberCentral post


Photo credits: CDC (Amanda Mills)

By interviewing male biologists and physicists from different career stages, Elaine Howard Ecklund and colleagues examined how these scientists balance time spent in the lab versus time spent on household and child-rearing tasks. The original study isn’t available yet, but Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed recounts some interesting tidbits from what was presented at the American Sociological Association annual meeting.

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  1. I can’t wait to read the original study. I find it interesting that Jaschik’s synopsis itself seemed a bit biased to emphasize the neo-traditional and traditional groups (especially by ending the whole article with the punchline: Asked, “Do you think that having children then is difficult to manage with being a scientist?” one physicist said, “No, absolutely not. That’s why you have a wife.”), while a third of the interviewed men fell into the egalitarian group. I think the egalitarian choices are possibly the most interesting since I can’t imagine a third of working married men would have fallen into this category even 20 years ago.

    1. Yes, I need to find the paper when it’s published (and probably write another post about it!). The egalitarian group is really interesting (and heartening). I’d love to see data tracking the careers of men in these different categories. Presumably the ‘egalitarian’ men are under the biggest time crunch. Are they more likely to opt out of research intensive careers? How are their tenure rates? Also, I imagine many of these men struggle with the two body problem.

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