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Women in Science

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Video clip: Kristina commutes from France and finds the flexibility of academic work benefits her and her children.

You're here how many days a week?

I'm usually here two days a week. So it's one night I'm away and, you know, that's usual, people are in the office in academia, unless you have a lab, that's a different situation and then I sit at home and I write and again I'm a social scientist, my collaborators are all over the world; Taiwan, Canada, US, Sweden, France, the UK. So, so we skype a lot. So, you know, I have quite a packed schedule and it's been very good for my research productivity. So, it's been a good and that also means that when I'm home, I'm home. So, I can always pick someone up or whatever, take a break in the day. So, I think it's very good for my kids too.

Sounds like there's a certain amount of flexibility being an academic and….

It's fantastic. For family/work balance I think it's a really good thing. Actually, my favourite is a good friend of mine [laughs] and she was saying, everyone talks about work/family balance and the assumption is that there's too much, too little time for family. “No there's too much time for family. I don't have enough time to work,” was her complaint actually. So [laughs] she's also doing very well and yeah, there's a myth about, yeah, I think we problematising.

The most important thing is to get the right partner. That's the most important thing. We know that if the maternal grandmother lives within I think it's 30 kilometres, you're likely to have one more child. So, we know that extended family, I haven't had extended family. I have two kids and, but you find people that help you and the advantage with France is that they have, after Scandinavia, the highest percentage of women working because they set up their systems for working families. So, they have a lot of before school and after school activities. School starts at a young age and everything's integrated in the school usually. So, you know, you could, you could drop your kid off at 7 and pick them up at 6.30 which is not ideal for anyone but you have that possibility and not everyone has the same flexibility as academics have in terms of work hours.

So, for some families that's very important and then the staff working in these schools know all the kids. It's very familiar and my kids sometimes they say, “No, I want to stay longer because it's a social, it's their social environment. There's a lot of fun stuff going on.”