Work-life balance in the laboratory. Opening of a playroom for children of ICCVS employees

The University of Gdańsk supports the staff of the International Centre for Cancer Vaccine Science (ICCVS) in achieving a balance between private and scientific life. On September 6, ICCVS Director prof. dr hab. Natalia Marek-Trzonkowska, together with Rector prof. dr hab. Piotr Stepnowski, opened the playroom at the centre's premises. Seconds after the ribbon was cut, the children of the unit's employees rushed into the room full of toys. 

'This initiative is a consequence of the Horizon 2020 project 'Modifying Institution by Developing Gender Equality Plans' (MINDtheGEPs) at the UG and the need to strive for a work-life balance. Europe is now moving towards gender equality, but women are still more likely than men to give up academic work to look after their children,' - said prof. Natalia Marek-Trzonkowska. - 'In our team, 30 out of 46 team members are women. Like any scientist, we want to understand biological processes or find answers to our questions. However, we don't want to be torn between work and family and we don't want our children to think that work is taking them away from their parents. This vision gave birth to the idea for our Family Room.'

prof. Ewa Łojkowska

Prof. Ewa Łojkowska, head of the MINDtheGEPs project on the UG side, talked about the importance of the project in a broader context and further statistics presenting gender inequality in the Polish scientific community. One of the problems mentioned by the scientist was the low percentage of women at the highest stages of their scientific careers. - 'Among university professors, 45% are women, while when it comes to titular professors, this rate drops to 25%,' - said prof. Ewa Łojkowska.

Prof. Natalia Marek-Trzonkowska thanked all those who contributed to making this initiative a reality: prof. Piotr Stepnowski, Vice Chancellor for Administration Leszek Fiertek, prof. dr hab. Ewa Łojkowska and Anna Krajewska from ICCVS.

- 'We know about the risks that women in science face. This is one of the many projects of the University of Gdańsk that counteracts gender inequality,' - said the Rector of the University of Gdańsk, opening the playroom together with the ICCVS Director.

Children of ICCVS employees were able to view their parents' workplace, see interesting experiments and try on protective suits.

Marcel Jakubowski / Press Office UG