Parent and Carer Travel: The Science Community Responds
We asked you about the barriers and solutions to parent and carer travel in research. Here’s what you had to say
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For researchers, international travel is often linked with career progression; but opportunities to travel are not equally open to all.
In our recent survey of researchers, just 4% of you reported receiving support with childcare or family member travel expenses for international travel, and 1 in 5 have been prevented from travelling because of family responsibilities. This means that parents and carers in STEM are missing out on opportunities because of the extra barriers to travel they often face.
We asked you to share your experiences of balancing work travel with caring or parental responsibilities, as well as your suggestions for improving the system for parents and carers. And you had a lot to say.
More than 6,000 votes in our Twitter poll demonstrated that this issue has affected you or someone you know.
And those stats played out in your personal stories.
Some of you also pointed out the ways in which this issue affects different groups of people in different ways.
The topic generated a lot of discussion on what practical steps could be taken to support parent and carer researchers.
From improved videoconferencing and on-site childcare at conferences, to timing events to coincide with school holidays and providing grants to cover care costs or dependant travel, you had lots of ideas.
Some of you also highlighted organisations and events that were setting a good example in this area.
There is no one simple solution to the challenge of balancing academic travel with caring responsibilities, but by sharing your experiences and solutions, you’ve helped to create a blueprint for future action.
Thank you for helping to create a better, fairer environment for science. And watch this space.