Readers' reactions

March 12, 1999

Last month in The THES..we asked how you split the child care

Penelope Griffin Equity research officerUniversity of South Australia

By moving back to Australia. Child care for our 16-month-old daughter costs half what it does in Britain and is tax-deductible. We can book by the day or the part day, and casual care is usually available to cope with emergencies at work. After-school care for our seven-year-old son is cheap and good.

I returned to work (part-time) when Martha, the baby, was eight weeks old. I take her to her nursery, which is run by my university and is just a few minutes from my office. When she was breastfeeding, the nursery would summon me when I was needed. My return to work has been greatly eased by the flexibility offered by my university.

In Australia, working when you have children is not easy. But it is a lot easier than in Britain.

Angele Hamel Lecturer in systems engineeringSouthampton Institute

My husband and I are both academics, and we split equally the care of our five-month-old son. While I get recognition from friends and colleagues for my efforts in this balancing act, however, my husband gets very little. It is time we recognised that it is not just women who lack "the advantages of backstage support", it is the equal-share men as well. It is also time that those men who have backstage support acknowledge the fact instead of pretending that cooking the occasional meal counts for half.

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