My home country is the country in Europe where most people work part-time. Nearly half of the workforce (both male and female) work part-time (meaning less than 38 hours a week). And if that is broken down for gender you can see that 75% of women work part-time.
|Source. I couldn’t find this figure in English, but the X-axis shows the percentage of working people, and my homecountry is the longest blue line all the way at the bottom.|
You might say: ‘Oh nice, there are so many jobs that people can do part-time and they get to spend more time with their family’. True, but the downside of this is that daycare providers often also work part-time. This means that if you are one of those few mothers that want to work full-time, you will almost certainly put your child in a daycare where it does not have one steady care provider, but different ones for almost every day, making it much harder for your child to form a bond with their care provider.
And that is not even the worst part of it. Because the reality is that because so many women work part-time, it is almost seen as a crime when you have children and decide to work full-time. Almost no child goes to a daycare 5 days a week, and if you ask if that’s a possibility, the answer we got was:”I guess, if you insist”. I won’t even get started about the judgmental looks and comments from other mothers. It is just not done.
So can you science part-time? I think you can, because as a matter of fact a couple of my mentors from grad school (both men and women) worked four days a week. Some of them worked 4 times 9 hours (technically full-time but with one day to be home with their kids), others worked 4 ‘regular’ days. I’m not saying that these people did not work at nights and on the weekend, because I’m pretty sure most of them did. And I guess in about a year from now (if all goes well, we get some kind of grant, etc etc) we will try for ourselves. Both Dr. BrownEyes and I are considering working 4 days a week, so that BlueEyes and prospective baby can go to daycare 3 days a week, just like their fellow homecountry kids.