Czech Republic, just like other European countries, is dealing with a question of equal opportunities of men and women. The topic has permeated many fields, not even the Czech scientific environment has been immune to the debate over the topic of harmonization of scientific work and family life. A discussion is currently under way in the Czech Republic on conditions of professional preparation of doctoral students and early stage researchers. The area of harmonization of parenthood and doctoral studies is also one of the contemporary topics. According to the Monitoring Report on Situation of Women in the Czech Scientific Environment, the largest dropout rates in female scientific participation occur either even before entering the doctoral studies or right after obtaining the doctoral degree and before entering the scientific community as such (Postavení žen v české vědě. Monitorovací zpráva za rok 2015). As a 2012 study by LERU organization points out, 45% of women leaves the academia after finishing the doctoral studies. One of the reasons for women leaving science is also caring for children. Workplace setup in the area of harmonization of parenthood and scientific career can play a significant role for female scientists at the beginning of their scientific careers, and therefore even during the doctoral studies. One of the problems the Czech sciences are now coming to terms with is the low representation of women, weak opportunities for their career engagement in science, research, and innovation, and insufficient emphasis on gender perspective into the development of scientific knowledge and innovation. Even though the number of women in doctoral studies are on the rise, this increase does not markedly show in the area of research, in particular as noted in the scientific career. Doctoral studies is the very period in which many early stage female researchers consider their further engagement in the academic environment, a development of their careers, and at the same time face the question of ideal timing for starting a family. This study aims to answer the following research question: How does motherhood influence the beginnings of the scientific career for early stage female researchers?
Scientific environment can be considered the major sphere in which knowledge is created within contemporary societies. At the same time, we can define the scientific environment as one which emphasizes quality, objectivity, and as a system which is based on meritocratic principles. Science was and still has been connected to the principles of meritocracy, rationality, objectivity, and impartiality (van den Brink & Benschop, 2013; Jandourek, 2012). Ivie et al. (in Rolin & Vainio, 2011) talk, in connection to the academic environment, about the so called “culture of long working hours”. In such an environment, it is taken for granted that a scientist who spends long hours at work has an advantage in a competitive working environment. Researching harmonization of parenthood and the beginning of the scientific career requires taking into account the concept of gender, which plays a key role in creating social attitudes and behavioural models (Wharton, 2005, Linková , 2013). Gender and science can be viewed from several different perspectives. For this study, we have examined perspectives of women in science and career trajectories that focus on harmonization of parenthood and a scientific career. In addition, the data are analysed using the theory of role conflict, as this is a common theme women in academia experience (Morris in Možný, 1975; Kněžević, Gregorov, Šimunić, 2016).
1. Kněžević, I.; Gregorov, L.; Šimunić, A. (2016). Salience and conflict of work and family roles among employed men and women. Berlin: Archives of Industrial Hygiene & Toxicology, Jun2016, Vol. 67 Issue 2, p152 12p. 2. Linková, M. (2013). Nejisté vyhlídky: proměny vědecké profese z genderové perspektivy. Praha: Sociologické nakladatelství (SLON). 3. Maes, K. Gvozdanovic, J., Buitendijk, S. Hallberg, I. Mantilleri, B. (2012). Women, reaserch, universities: excellemce without gender bias. Available: http://www.leru.org/files/publications/LERU_Paper_Women_universities_and_research.pdf 4. Možný, I. ( 1975) Pojmový komplex teorie sociál í role. Available: https://digilib.phil.muni.cz/bitstream/handle/11222.digilib/111662/G_Sociologica_19-1975-1_7.pdf?sequence=1 5. Rolin, K. & Vainio, J. (2011). Gender in Academia in Finland: Tensions between Policies and Gendering Processes in Physics Departments. Science Studies, 24 (1), 26-46. 6. She Figures 2015. (2016) Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Available: https://ec.europa.eu/research/swafs/pdf/pub_gender_equality/she_figures_2015-final.pdf 7. Tenglerová, H. (2015). Postavení žen v české vědě. Monitorovací zpráva za rok 2014. Prague: Sociologický ústav AV ČR. 8. van den Brink, M. & Benschop, Y. Gender practices in the construction of academic excellence: Sheep with five legs. Organization, July 2012 vol. 19 no. 4 507-524. Available: http://org.sagepub.com/content/19/4/507 9. Wharton, A. S. (2005). The Sociology of gender: An Introduction to Theory and Research. Oxford: Blackwell.
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