Childcare_etcEMBL childcare during conferences was first offered at EMBL Heidelberg in October 2015. Since then, many children have been registered to use our services, allowing their parents to continue to develop their careers whilst having their family by their side. We asked some parents what our childcare meant for them.

How does having childcare at conferences help your career?

Folasade Muibat Adeyemi (Osun State University, Nigeria) Having the child somewhere safe, close to me, gave me the opportunity to fully concentrate on the sessions.  If not for that, I would have had to rush off during the sessions and dash back for the next. But now I can stay here, ask questions, and concentrate fully on the events that are taking place, which has given me new ideas. 

Sarah Shabayek (Ulm University, Germany) - Of course without a child care service, it is difficult to be a working mom. But when we have something like this, we can go on with our careers, instead of having extra challenges. Something like this actually encourages us to get on with our careers, be successful, more confident, and not feel that the children are a burden.

Anna Yssel (KU Leuven, Belgium) When I noticed that you have childcare facilities available for the duration of the conference I thought "that is great"! I hope this will become the new standard not only for all EMBL conferences, but for all academic conferences. It was terribly hard for me to leave my daughter at home with her dad when she was just a few months old (and still breastfeeding), and it only got harder as she got older. There must be thousands of moms who experienced the same. This is a step in the right direction, making the academic world more family and female friendly."

What can you say about your experience with the childcare?

Sarah - The people are nice and it is very flexible. Of course having a good facility, lots of toys and going outside is nice, but most important are the personnel, and that you feel your child is safe. I don’t worry about her here, because I know there are good people taking care of her, feeding her and helping her have fun.

What sort of experiences has your child had?

Folasade - She now knows that there are other places, other people, other skin colors. She has seen other food and had things she wasn’t used to, so she knows that there are other things beyond the normal everyday life. It’s a new experience for her and I believe she will be able to remember for a while that she had this kind of experience. One day after the conference, when I went to pick her up, she refused to come because she was having so much fun. I had to tell her, don’t worry you are coming back tomorrow. They have toys, writing materials, coloring materials, they took them to the playground, they took a walk through the forest - she had never really done that back home, so this was a new adventure for her.