Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • CAREER BRIEF

Children and infants must be welcome at scientific conferences, say scientist-parents

Conference organizers must make their events more welcoming and accessible to parents of young children, say 46 scientist-parents. Rebecca Calisi, a behavioural neuroscientist at the University of California, Davis, and her colleagues offer a blueprint for improving attendees’ experience (R. M. Calisi et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA http://doi.org/ck8h; 2018). By not accommodating children, the authors say, conferences can unintentionally create barriers that exclude large numbers of scientists — especially mothers at an early stage of their career who might not be able to afford childcare. “One part of promoting diversity is supporting women with children,” Calisi says. Rules about children seem to change from conference to conference and even from hour to hour, says Calisi, who notes that researchers with babies were barred from a poster session at a large conference last November, even though the official policy permitted children in the exhibition area. A practical, comfortable space for breastfeeding or pumping breast milk is an important provision, Calisi says. The Society for Neuroscience, for one, aims to become more inclusive. “The society is exploring ways to enhance the spaces for nursing mothers,” says spokesperson Kara Flynn.

Nature 555, 551 (2018)

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-03307-0

Subjects

Nature Careers

Jobs

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing

Search

Quick links