The initiative to organize this seminar was taken by three PhD students from the Faculty of Law (Aurélie Cassiers, Sara Vancleef, Merel Vrancken).
Research shows that there is still no gender balance within academia. Women are underrepresented in the higher positions, particularly in the positions of postdoc and professor. A significant factor contributing to the underrepresentation of women in academia is the difficulty of balancing work and family obligations. When they have children, women are likely to work fewer hours in paid employment and spend more time fulfilling unpaid caring responsibilities. This has a negative impact on women’s academic career. Due to these family obligations, female academics are likely to publish fewer academic papers and participate in fewer congresses, making it harder for them to get a promotion. It might even result in some women dropping out of academia entirely.
Being young researchers ourselves, we are open to an academic career after our PhD, but we are a bit reluctant as we do not know to what extent an academic career is compatible with a pleasant private and family life. We noticed that other young researchers within the Faculty of Law share this concern, regardless of their gender. Therefore, we are organizing a seminar on work-life balance in the academic world in which five professors of our faculty, both male and female, will testify about how they try to maintain their work-life balance and the difficulties they experience when it comes to this balance. Young researchers of our faculty will have the opportunity to present their questions and concerns to these professors.
Five professors of our faculty have confirmed to participate as a speaker in this seminar:
Given the sensitive and private nature of the topic of work-life balance and the risk of socially desirable response behavior, the purpose is to organize a small-scale seminar where the participants are already familiar with one another. Therefore, only young researchers of the Faculty of Law, PhD students and postdocs, will be invited. We will offer the speakers several topics and questions on work-life balance. There will be room to bring new ideas to the table and to have a discussion on work-life balance with the speakers and other participants.
An important part of preparing for any further professional step is becoming (more) aware of the competences you have developed and/or want to develop. The current seminar deals with the following competences from the UHasselt competency overview: