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Grants, Balance, Networking, Data, and Meeting Again Next Year

March 15, 2008

The remaining two tables discussed issues around grants, balance, networking, and data.

The first discussed work-life balance, and came up with a few recommendations:

1. Individual women need to be open to accepting help and limiting their work time spent away from research.

2. Flexible work schedules, flexible funding. (It was noted that NASA grants contain some inherent flexibility, as proposers may propose for part-time support, accept fewer than a full FTE of support, and request no-cost extensions to accommodate unexpected delays.)

3. On-site daycare for conferences and for daily work. (See the previous post.)

The second table had a bit broader of a charter, and discussed a full range of issues. They were interested in:

1. Grant flexibility that would, for example, allow time off or part-time options after childbirth.  (See above for a comment on the flexibility of NASA grants.)

2. Awareness of additional career options (beyond tenure-track). Examples given were women in industry, consulting, and at research institutions.

3. An email network for women in planetary science. The email group was created for this purpose. This group is currently open to all women in planetary science and is unmoderated, with archives accessible to members only. To join the list, go to and follow the directions.

4. A group formed for women in planetary science that would be the equivalent of AAS – CSWA or APS – CSWP.

5. Demographics (gender, job title, etc.) collected at LPSC and similar conferences.

6. Increased mentoring in instrument design and/or preparation for membership on mission teams.

7. Double blind reviewing for papers and grants.

8. A virtual space for mothers to connect with each other and compare solutions to the issues of work-life balance and producing quality science.

The room as a whole was asked several questions at the end of the meeting. To each, the answer was, overwhelmingly, YES:

– Would you like to do this again next year?

– Should we ask that a nursing room be available at LPSC?

– Do you want an email list to facilitate communication until then?

– Do you want a website or blog?

The other ideas expressed in this series of posts were presented as general consensus of the 8-20 women in each group but do not represent a consensus of the group as a whole. If only we had had more time, or another chance to meet, we may have been able to understand the full extent of the issues and what might be achievable in the coming year. But now the issues are out there in print, and we invite you to comment online or on the email group as you wish, and to take these ideas and run with them.

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