Balanced: A Panel on Family Life and Careers in Academia

Sponsored by AAPA Committee on Diversity-WIN. Day/time: Friday, April 13,  12:15 PM – 2:15PM, Room Texas 1. Organizers: Kathryn Grow Allen (University of Buffalo). Maximum attendance: 50

The climate surrounding the idea of obtaining work-life balance appears to have improved in recent years, more academics having kids than in past decades, normalizing this life decision and making it less taboo. Many universities now advertise paid parental leave and a dedication to work-life balance among the benefits they offer to potential faculty members. Despite these improvements, other changes in the academic world, especially increasing job insecurity and a decrease in permanent positions forcing academics to move repeatedly, make it more difficult than ever for academics to feel they can successfully balance career goals with family life. Likewise, narratives such as “having children pre-tenure will destroy your career” are still propagated to graduate students and early-career scholars, cautions that likely influence decisions to stay on an academic career trajectory.

This workshop aims to bring attention to this important subject, discussing the current and future climate of work-life balance. Bringing together a panel of scholars with diverse experience juggling family and career obligations, a number of questions will be addressed. Do fathers’ experiences differ from those of mothers? Does caring for elderly relatives cause different concerns than juggling a professional career with young children? How do we advocate for better family-friendly policies in academia? What are we communicating to graduate students about the possibilities of having a fulfilling family life as an academic? What have some successful professionals done to achieve balance? These questions, along with participant-generated topics and a discussion brainstorming ways to improve the status of work-life balance in biological anthropology will be the focus of this workshop.

This workshop is designed for any biological anthropologist interested in the subject of balancing family life with a career in academia.