DEWIS is the women’s network of scientists at the TU Delft and our mission is to help TU Delft to attract more women and create an inclusive, safe environment that makes women want to stay, while giving them the opportunity to grow and flourish in their academic careers. Another important goal for DEWIS is to reach a male-female ratio that more accurately reflects society.
13 september 2023
DEWIS Diversity Week event 5 October: join and discuss cultural changeThe beginning of this academic year was different. The feelings of excitement because we have a new year ahead of us were mixed with feelings of distress and concern, because of the newspaper articles 1 and interviews 2 about/from our former colleague Dr. Daphne Stam who left our university before for the summer. She didn't feel heard, she didn't feel treated well. There are many positive changes to be observed at the TU Delft, but the departure of Dr. Daphne Stam shows that there is still a way to go to create a safe environment that ensures that women want to stay at the university and have fair and equal opportunities to grow in their academic careers. We must all work together to accelerate the culture change with the important role of appreciation, trust, support and social safety. Daphne, we dedicate this event to you and wish you all the best. We invite you all to join us at the DEWIS event “Gender diversity, work and caregiving: what academia can learn from business” on 5 October during the D&I week. With presentations from the SER (Socio Economic Council), a panel discussion on accelerating the needed cultural change and a light-hearted theatre performance. Let’s commit to gender diversity, equity and inclusion! Do you want to talk? DEWIS invites all students and staff members to join our event ‘Gender Diversity, Work and Caregiving’ on 5 October to discuss together how to accelerate the cultural change. With presentations from the SER (Socio Economic Council), a panel discussion and a light-hearted theatre performance. Let’s commit to gender diversity, equity and inclusion! Need other support or information? More information about wellbeing can be found on the wellbeing and study page Check the wellbeing e-Health tool Would you like coach? More information can be found on Talent Services More information about diversity and inclusion can be found here or on the faculty pages: Faculty of Technology, Policy & Management Faculty of Aerospace Engineering Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences Elektrotechniek, Wiskunde en Informatica Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering Faculty of Applied Sciences 1 https://www.volkskrant.nl/wetenschap/prominente-planeetonderzoeker-loopt-aan-tegen-machocultuur-en-vertrekt-bij-tu-delft~b52c3f96/ https://nos.nl/artikel/2488477-toponderzoeker-weg-bij-tu-delft-om-machocultuur-niet-de-eerste 2 https://www.delta.tudelft.nl/article/opgestapte-daphne-stam-ik-werd-vooral-gezien-als-vrouwelijke-wetenschapper
08 juni 2023
Parents and caregivers Networking Lunch sessionsFamily caregiving is part of the fabric of life. Many scientists (m/f) have children or are starting a family at the same time as maintaining and building a career. Juggling teaching, publishing, finding a new (or permanent) job, relocating, attending conferences, and actually doing research sometimes requires more hours in the day than exist. So, how do colleagues combine this with parenting? What challenges do parents face in the different job levels? Where do they find support? And what can the organisation do to create a more inclusive working environment where parents can grow and flourish in their careers? DEWIS is talking with scientists (m/f) with caregiving responsibilities, and we aim to start a dialogue to support the working lives of colleagues who also have off-campus parenting and/or caring responsibilities. On 22 May, we organized our first Parenting Networking Lunch session. We discussed the challenges (future and current) parents experience when pursuing an academic career, shared positive experiences and formulated suggestions for different internal stakeholders. The most important suggestion was to create a support structure, including guidelines for supervisors and event organizers. Because of the overwhelming interest for the session, we have decided to organize more sessions and continue to do so. This also contributes to the need for a networking community for academic parents. The second session will on 23 June. However, this session is already fully booked. The third session will be organized after the summer, so your eye open for the invitation. Valuable links from the HR-presentation can be found on the intranet.
08 juni 2023
DEWIS reflects on the challenges faced by parents in academic positions.Many scientists (m/f) have children or are starting a family at the same time as maintaining and building a career or are thinking about starting a family. During the second Networking Lunch of ‘Parenting and Caregiving’ on last Friday, 23 June, we discussed the main challenges (future and current) parents face during the different phases in their academic career. In the WordCloud the most important topics are made visible. Availability and Accessibility of Information. Future and current parents have many things to organize and think about. Finding and understanding (the consequences of) the information about leave regulations is not always easy. International people who don’t know the language and the Dutch system experience extra difficulties finding the right information. Starting and having a family is part of the fabric of life. Information about leave regulations should be available, easy assessable and clear to understand for (current and future) parents to feel supported in this new phase of life. Important information regarding leave can be found here . (PDF) Any other questions regarding leave regulations can be asked at HR Services, firstname.lastname@example.org Mental Support The first period after becoming a parent is a period of finding a new balance. After coming back from maternity and/or paternity leave parents need mental support in achieving this balance. Academics on a temporary contract might experience pressure to perform to finish the work within the limited time while at the same time looking for the next step in their career. The period just after maternity leave and paternity leave can be very overwhelming. Parents are trying to adjust to their new situation with an extra little family member to care for and at the same time trying to pick up on the academic work at the university. This might cause feelings of guilt and anxieties. Supervisors have an important role to comfort, reduce unnecessary stress and help make realistic plannings. Transparent conversations with each other can be super helpful. Practical Support Many (future) parents experience time challenges: i.e., finding ways to travel to conferences, finding longer stretches of time for Deep Work, and finding ways to join networking events. Practical support can help parents to deal with these challenges. Support can be found in the inner circle of family, neighbours, or friends, but this might be challenging, especially for international staff members who are alone and encounter cultural differences and language barriers. Other support communities, i.e., Delft Mama , can be very helpful. Some international conferences already include day-care facilities. When the child is going to day-care life becomes somewhat easier but still any unexpected events can be very challenging. Support website International employees Support Networks Health and Safety at Work Welcoming Spaces Creating family friendly working environments is important for parents to feel included and flourish and grow in their careers. Do not plan all your social networking events or teaching activities at the end of the day. Be mindful of colleagues with caregiving tasks. Universities in Scandinavia and Iceland have welcoming spaces on campus where parents can bring their children in cases of emergency. Create a culture where parents can share about their caregiving tasks and openly discuss the big and small challenges they encounter. Flexibility Flexibility is necessary for parents to juggle teaching, publishing, finding a new (or permanent) job, relocating, attending conferences, and doing research sometimes. Many parents have a lot of flexibility in time scheduling, but this has a downside because of difficulties finding large chunks of time for Deep Work. In many cases part-time working doesn’t seem to be a solution because the system is not yet fully adjusted to part-time working. Because of an overwhelming interest to discuss this topic with each other, DEWIS will organize similar events in the new academic year. Keep an eye open for messages in our newsletter or LinkedIn group . Any questions or remarks can be sent to Astrid Taal, email@example.com
02 juni 2023
Parents and caregivers: an interview with two PhD candidatesFamily caregiving is part of the fabric of life. Many scientists (m/f) have children or are starting a family at the same time as maintaining and building a career. Juggling teaching, publishing, finding a new (or permanent) job, relocating, attending conferences, and actually doing research sometimes requires more hours in the day than exist. So, how do colleagues combine this with parenting? What challenges do parents face in the different job levels? Where do they find support? And what can the organisation do to create a more inclusive working environment where parents can grow and flourish in their careers? DEWIS is talking with scientists (m/f) with caregiving responsibilities, and we aim to start a dialogue around how we can make changes within the TU Delft to support those scientists who are also parents. Antragama Abbas is a PhD researcher at the faculty of TPM and has a new-born son of four months old. Raquel Hädrich Silva is from Brazil and is a PhD researcher at the faculty of Arch+BE and has a 2-year-old boy. Raquel Hädrich Silva Antragama Abbas Can you describe your situation? Antra : “Our son was too young for day-care when circumstances required my wife to return to work earlier than we expected. So, we took turns caring for our baby, just the two of us, without any family support. It was tough, with me trying to complete my dissertation and preparing my career’s next steps. However, the support and confidence given by my understanding supervisors helped immensely. Now, I can say that those challenges make me stronger. I am grateful for the journey, and things have started to improve. We are doing well!” Raquel : “Yes, the first months are challenging. It does make an enormous difference that my son is going to day-care now. I am happy to say that my partner and I divide the caregiving responsibilities in a very flexible way. We are both actively engaged. If I need to work longer, my partner picks him up and gives him diner. I feel more rooted here in Holland since my son is born. I feel less homesick, and I have more work-life balance. My life is not only about doing my PhD. When I come home, I play with him. This gives me energy which in turn has positive influence on my work.” Did you have any doubts to start a family during this phase of your career? Antra : “In life, perfect timing for major events like starting a family is elusive. If we overthink it, we might end up missing the beautiful experiences that parenthood brings. So, despite the critical phase of my career, I embraced the journey without having any regrets.’ Raquel : “I wanted to become a mother, and this was the right moment: during my PhD. I saw the women around me in academia and it was not getting any easier for them to have a baby later in their career journey. As a PhD, I have less responsibilities. Once the baby was born, I could come back and start where I left off with my research.” What challenges do you face in this phase of you PhD? Antra : “My biggest challenge was the absence of a fixed work structure. The initial months were particularly challenging - I was tired, could not focus, and felt a decline in my productivity, which led to a lot of stress and uncertainty about my work. Again, if it were not for my understanding and supportive supervisors, I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult it would have been.” Raquel : “It is shocking to me that people expect you to come back after three months of maternity leave or a few weeks of parental leave and work full for 100%. I can relate to what Antra shared. Starting work after maternity leave felt overwhelming. It was an uncertain period where both my body and mind were adjusting to the new situation. My supervisor supported me greatly: I could negotiate how I would work during the first year. It was nice to have that respect from her.” Where did you go for support? Antra : “My supervisors were a pillar of support during this period, helping me not just by understanding my situation but also by assisting in re-adjusting my work rhythms and deadlines. In parallel, the secretarial team was helpful, providing essential information such as details on available leave options. The support from my fellow Indonesian community in Delft also played an essential role in my journey. This combined support significantly eased my journey during this challenging period.” Raquel : “It really helps to talk to people. Because you might think: ‘I am not capable; I cannot do this; Academia is not for me.’ But as soon as you talk to other people you will find this is about the phase you are in. Having the right support during this phase can make an immense difference in regaining your rhythm. I learnt to work more efficiently, for example.” What can a supervisor do to support (future and current) parents? Mark: “My first goal is to help the parent to enjoy this new phase in life. What’s needed for that depends on the situation, so it’s important to discuss that openly. Offer your support, be kind and flexible. Often, PhD students worry about their planning. Here, I try to help by being realistic and pragmatic. It’s no use to stick to an unfeasible planning and add more pressure. But it’s also not good to postpone tasks in ways that create problems later. All about balancing here!” What advice would you give to (future and current) parents? Mark: “You will be overwhelmed. Give it time and embrace the changes. You will find a new balance. Prioritize your family. Find the time to be with your newborn and support your partner. Most academics love their job and are thinking about it all the time. So, with this, I also mean that you should find the mental space to really be with them. This is a period that doesn’t come back. Anything you invest now in creating a basis for your family, will pay off massively in the future. And finally: discuss it with your supervisor. Be open and ask for the support you need. It’s special becoming a parent, but also common. So in case of doubt, do speak up and ask support.” Mark de Reuver, Associate Professor at TPM and Antra’s supervisor What can the organisation do more to support parents? Antra : “From my experience, a more proactive approach from the organization towards new parents could be beneficial. After a child arrives, it can be overwhelming, and it is often challenging to actively seek out necessary information. I believe it would be immensely helpful to have a structured support system in place, something like a formalized one-hour meeting or even a home visit, similar to what the midwife or consultatiebureau does. During this meeting, new parents could be guided on what to anticipate in their professional lives during this transformative period.” Raquel : ‘I totally agree. I feel this university is not prepared for mothers who want an academic career. And this is not only my experience. Many others share my feeling. For example, we should not normalize the separation of babies from their mothers. University has pumping rooms, mostly underground or in the back of the faculty somewhere. However, we do not have open welcoming spaces where mothers can breastfeed or where small children can come to work if necessary. Work and family are very separated in university culture and in the Netherlands in general. My mum, who is from Brazil, breastfed her baby at work. It was a celebration!’
05 oktober 2023 14:45 t/m 18:00