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Women in Science

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Video clip: Xin took less than three months maternity leave for each baby. She continued to supervise people by phone. She wanted to return to her lab as soon as possible because of the exciting work going on.

Right. Well when I had my two girls, at that time I think the maternity leave time was 3 months. I used 9 weeks for my elder daughter and then 8 weeks for my younger daughter. But I was really fortunate to have a very good childminder near me, and I was able to have them to help and look after my two daughters. And, of course, I got a lot of support from my husband and, you know, without him I would not have been able to do it obviously. It’s a family effort.

Did you ever consider taking any longer off work? Or did you want to come straight back?

Well I obviously did want to go back to the lab immediately because there’s a lot of science - exciting things going on. But, at that time, I was able to continue to supervise people by phone, and that was very important to be able to keep the lab going rather than be completely absent. And I know quite a lot of women PI’s and they are all able to ... I mean nowadays you could keep up, in touch, with your lab with emails and Skype and that certainly was how I did it, with fax and telephone.