Is the purpose of science to produce sound and novel observations and advance understanding of the special area or serve what some might see as poltical correctness in a balance of men and women in the lab? If we presumed the former as primary goal - is it best served by accomodations made for maternity?
If this will provide more opportunities and make it easier for women who’d like to contribute to achieve this purpose, why not? I know this sense of entitlement grates but only if we’re living in a just world that there is no need for it. If women demand for equal opportunity, then would you say we’re not entitled to it?
Besides, I wonder what you’d include in these “many accommodations” but, ok….granted we now have legal recourse against sexism, paid parental leave, better salaries for women (although disparities still occur), subsidised daycare systems etc. but what about subtle forms of sexism that still exist? An employer who’s trying to choose between two equally qualified applicants but one’s a female in her child-bearing years, who’d get the job? And the same with job promotions.
Oftentimes, it’s the women themselves who put up the barriers…. How many women PhD or postdoc students get pregnant while in the experimentation stage of their theses? Can you imagine the paperwork/hassle that they and the PI have to go through so they can continue working in the lab? No acrylamide, no radioactivity, no solvent esp DMSO etc., they must replan their work schedule throughout the duration of the pregnancy and it’s not only them but the entire lab is also affected. Then not to mention all the physical and physiological changes...So having children is always a very difficult decision and no wonder it’s always postponed for much later and sometimes, already too late. Would it then be fair to say that men don’t go through this same difficult decision making?
How often do we hear that guys have a hard time choosing between family and career? Or have a ticking biological clock?
And when the child arrives, more often than not, who’d be taking care more of it? Whose priorities are going to change? Science or at least research would lose a lot of these talented women if the working environment and esp the bosses/PIs would not be equally supportive…and if we have to count on this “entitlement” I ask again, why not?