Baden-Württemberg Science Ministry wants science and parenthood to fit together better

Post in: German

The State Ministry for Science, Research, and Art in Baden-Württemberg organized a conference on April 11, 2011 in Stuttgart to discuss strategies for combining science and parenthood. Ministerial-director Klaus Tappeser opened the session. I gave two keynote presentations in the morning, one on how Americans combine Family and Career, and the other entitled “Women in Science: New Perspectives.” In the afternoon, various universities presented their best practices.
The rates of parenthood among men and women with university degrees in Germany are extremely low in international comparison and compared to those with less education in Germany. The more education a German has, the lower the probability that he or she has children. Germany, and particularly in this case Baden-Württemberg, recognizes that at least part of the problem lies in the scientific system itself — the culture, structure, and timing.
Such a conference is an excellent first step to foster exchange and discussion. The next steps, transforming scientific cultures and structures to normalize parenthood among scientists, will be a bit more challenging, but as I like to say, if we put a man on the moon, we can create systems that allow for the next generation to come into the world, if we want to badly enough.

For further information and short versions of my presentations, see:

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