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Women in Science

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Video clip: When Irene had young children she was running a clinical service so couldn’t work part-time. She was advised that if she worked part-time she wouldn’t be taken seriously.

Have you ever worked part-time or did you go back to full time as soon as the babies were a few months old?

No, but that’s a good question. I always worked full-time and the reason for that was practical in that I was the responsible for the clinical, I ran the clinical service. And at the beginning for the first five years or so I was actually single handed, so I didn’t have much option about being full time or part-time. Then there were two of us, but even when there were two of us it was too big a clinical responsibility to imagine going part time. But there was also another reason that I did that, and I’m not sure if this was necessarily good advice, but somebody who is now extremely senior in clinical academia in the UK told me that I would never be taken seriously if I worked part time, as a woman clinical academic.

That’s interesting.

As it turns out, although I never forgot that advice, I didn’t specifically take it for that reason but purely for that practical reason that I gave you.