Women at Work, and With Their Families Too

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Dr. Kiers with her children on an expedition this year into Kakum National Park in Ghana.Credit…Natalija Gormalova

To the Editor:

Re “An Act of Defiance Can Improve Things for Working Moms,” by Toby Kiers (Opinion guest essay, May 4):

I am a woman nearing the completion of my B.A. in philosophy, and I have the absurd hopes of going on to get my Ph.D. and work in academia and also have a family.

Dr. Kiers’s essay both shed light on the frustrating reality of the discrimination that mothers face in the world of academic research, and provided a shining beacon of hope to counteract it.

The false binary that women are presented and that so many people (including Dr. Kiers’s own child, she noted) assume is that we must decide: our research, our careers, our academic endeavors, or our children. One or the other.

Dr. Kiers has called this out; this is not actually a choice we have to make. Motherhood is not a detriment to our academic abilities and research contributions; it actually strengthens it in new and unexpected ways.

Dr. Kiers, in her refusal to choose between her research pursuits and her family, is helping to forge an exciting path forward. It is a path to a world where women can be celebrated, respected and supported with all that they are and all that they contribute, including their children.

That is the academic world I hope to enter into someday.

Megan Clancy

To the Editor:

Kudos to Dr. Toby Kiers! Her story is shared not only by fellow scientists, but by women at large. I admire her courage in bringing her 3-week-old son to work, and in pondering the advice of an older woman who discouraged her from being self-deprecating.

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