Paving the way for others

May 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

During the recent past, I spent a sabbatical year from my home institution in a visiting position.  I arrived at my host institution three months pregnant, and was pleasantly surprised that nearly everyone saw the fact that I was going to have a baby halfway through my visit as a wonderful thing.

Even better, one of my female colleagues at the host institution brought her baby to seminars and talks in the months leading up to the birth of my baby, so that I felt comfortable doing the same.  I was especially pleased that, not only was everyone enthusiastic about the presence of my baby, I continued to be treated as a valued member of the *intellectual* community.  People naturally wanted to ask about my baby, but they also continued to ask me about my work and to seek my input on their work.

Even better, another visitor had a baby just weeks apart from me, and brought *her* baby to seminars, as well!  From what she told me, she felt as welcomed and supported as I.

The female colleague who paved the way for me told me that another female colleague paved the way for her.  A single person’s bravery can ramify pretty quickly!

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