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Women in Science

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Portrait of Lois Brand© Women in ScienceInterview excerpt: Lois thinks that women in academic medicine have to manage too many roles and that their lives can be very stressful and difficult.

From my experience working as a career coach for the career development unit over the years I do perceive a difficulty for women who are coming up through the academic training pathways in that I feel that they often have to divide their time up much more carefully than men maybe have to. And I think we know that the division of home duties is less than 50:50. From the research that’s come out recently we know that to be the case but especially to do with childcare. And I think that women have to be very, very careful with their time management and that doesn’t leave them time for just doing things off the cuff or if they bump into somebody in the corridor who, who might be a very useful person to talk to they can’t necessarily just say, ‘Oh I’ll just come along and listen to this talk you’re about to give,’ or ‘come and, come and have a cup of tea and discuss things.’ They have to have things fitted into their, their rigid framework of childcare and other responsibilities. So I think it is really difficult for them.

And I think the academic training pathway has been and is very, very tough in that people have to achieve the same clinical competencies, get the same sign off in less time and at the same time they’re applying for funding, they’re trying to sort out their PhD, and do that on the side, and I think for women who have also got babies and toddlers at home there, it can become that they’re just spinning too many plates, and it becomes incredibly stressful and something’s got to give, and usually what has to give is the academic side for them, which is really disappointing because that’s the side that, that they really love. But obviously they are likely to love their children more.