Additional childcare, be it for time away from home or if required for unsociable hours, is often difficult to arrange at short notice and can be expensive.
In July 2009, the Women in Physics Group conducted a survey of the Institute’s membership to analyse the major issues that its members face in accessing childcare and the effect that becoming a parent has on their career.
Around 80 percent of respondents to the Institute’s survey on childcare, both men and women, reported that they found it difficult to make additional childcare arrangements outside of working hours. As a result, almost three-quarters of all respondents reported attending fewer conferences and events once they had caring responsibilities for children and over half reported that they thought their career progression might have been affected by childcare issues. Both men and women were affected although women were affected to a much larger extent than men.
Things that would most improve the situation most, according to our members, were the need for grants to cover the cost of additional childcare, the need for flexible working and a change in attitude and culture in respect of those working part-time/those with children.
The Institute has listened to what its members have said and we have launched the Carers Fund to enable our members to access funds to contribute towards additional care costs when attending IOP meetings and events out of hours and weekends.