The biggest challenge for women wanting to progress in their careers in STEM is achieving a Work-Life Balance (WLB). That was the principal idea behind a survey The Babraham institute sent to all its workers. The majority enjoy their research but they are not happy with the number of hours they have to dedicate to it.
With this idea in mind the Babraham Institute and CamAWiSE organised an event for people to see the benefits of job-sharing for their own careers and to learn more about CamAWiSE and the work we do supporting women in STEM.
Penny Coggill, a CamAWiSE Steering group member, launched the event. She introduced CamAWiSE, our history and our aims to the audience – from The Rising Tide report that led to our foundation to our monthly events. Later, she also took part in the panel discussion.
Sarah Horsfall, the founder of the job-sharing platform Ginibee, informed us about the advantages and challenges of job-sharing. In job-sharing two people alternate the work schedule and share the responsibilities of one full time job. This gives the employer the advantage of a full time employee, while the partners in the job-share only work part time. For the worker, it also helps with problems like the maternity wall and the gender scissors effect. Other advantages are an improved productivity, a broader and deeper experience, complementary skills difficult to obtain otherwise and an inherent contingency backup.
Post docs Sarah Burge and Claire Senner shared with us their experience as job-sharers. They told us how they complemented each other and brought different knowledge to the partnership. They also made clear that job-sharing is not without challenges like feeling productive while working only two days a week, keeping a tissue-culture going, or missing the lab daily life. But, after 18th months they both recommended the experience and hope for a long partnership.
During the panel discussion some interesting issues emerged, like the necessity of sharing the plans and expectations with your job-share partner, the importance of the company’s support and the need to test the partnership as soon as possible.
Thank you to Penny Coggill and Laura Norton for organising such an interesting and relevant event.
Aldara B. Dios