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Women in Science

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Video clip: Bryony is worried about the financial implications of having children. What bothers her is the lack of stability and not knowing how long she will have a job.

Have you ever thought about the future and how you might fit in having children if you wanted it to happen?

I think about it a lot at the moment. The big one for me on this is I love science, I really love it and I don’t mind working hard. I understand that’s necessary. I’ve also been lucky to have worked at Imperial and Oxford, so with very good scientists, very well-funded. But also at a very high level so I look at the people around me, who are, you know, the next bit up and think; and I look at how hard they work and kind of feel, it would be very, very difficult to fit in kids around that. But it would be do-able. So the logistics don’t bother me. What bothers me is the lack of stability and funding.


And I kind of feel at the moment that when it’s just two of you, me and my boyfriend, we’re fine. I’m not supporting anyone else and it doesn’t matter really. We’ll make do. But I don’t; I find it very hard to think you have a child or two and you never know where your next money, how long that’s going to last and it’s, that’s the thing that I find difficult to kind of marry up with having children.

Mm. You didn’t have a very good experience of industry though did you?

No, and I know that that would be better in terms of, there’s a clear structure and your maternity would be covered and that is true here, obviously there’s a maternity system. But if you’re on a three year grant and you get two and half years in and then you find out you’re pregnant, which has just happened to a friend of mine. And so she’s, she left her job and she couldn’t get another job. So she’s on unpaid maternity, which is really hard. And you can plan all you like but sometimes you can’t…


And I feel that like there’s almost maybe an element of not being terribly responsible about not knowing how long you’re going to have a job for. On the other hand, even if you were in what allegedly was a permanent job, you might, you know, your company might go bust or something. So you can’t really ever say that your job is a hundred per cent stable and I understand that. Just the more I think about having children, the more I worry that I wouldn’t be able to have a constant stream of income basically, which is challenging.