Expert Talk – Balancing Parenthood & Career in Academia
June 21, 2023 / 4:00-6:00 PM
Online via Zoom
ao. Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Katharina J. Auer-Zotlöterer (Universität Wien)
DI Dr. Karl Heinrich Schneider (Medizinische Universität Wien)
The birth of the first child turns out to be the most significant demarcation point in the life cycle of academics, that leads to the most cognizable drifting apart of female and male academic pathways. With heightened awareness of male partners and increasing active participation of fathers, the challenges for the different genders remain disparate. Yet, with the enhanced understanding of structural problems and potential support on individual, organizational, and political level, informed individual choices and arrangements among both parents can lead to satisfactory life courses.
It has been clearly recognized that the highly unstructured and delimited work schedules, short-, medium- and longterm mobility requirements, and insecurity in long time career planning, which characterize an academic career path, all dramatically interfere with the life realities of parentship, partnership and family life as a whole as well as with the requirements of community engagement and the expectations of individuals in younger generations (particularly Gen Z). Recently, though, a move from dual-earner to more differentiated dual-career models seems to become viable.
Our two speakers discuss fundamental decisions, every-day challenges, emotional burden and life satisfaction from a mothers’ and a fathers’ perspective in different life stages (i.e., with young children vs. teenagers) based on their experiences. They also point to unexpected life events and additional burdens faced by a “sandwich generation” between children and their own (advanced-age) parents. Altogether, despite recognizable costs their pathways can be seen as encouraging examples of finding personally suitable, highly fulfilling pathways in academia as a parent.