Monthly Archives: May 2011

Sorry, sorry….

I´m sorry to have missed my weekly commitment to this blog, but I´ve been really sick. Hopefully, I will be in a better shape next week.

Natalia

Parir con respeto y corazón

Hoy escribe Cecilia Jan en el blog del país  mamas &papas sobre el derecho
al parto .

Muchas de las cosas que menciona en su artículo existen en el Reino Unido (aunque por otra parte, no nos vayamos a engañar, el NHS, equivalente a la Seguridad Social española es un desastre en muchísimas otras cosas)

Mi experiencia en dar a luz en el Reino Unido fue en general muy buena. Me sentí respetada, escuchada y apoyada. Tuve la misma matrona casi toda la noche conmigo que no se separó ni un minuto, dándome la mano durante las casi 6 horas que duró mi el expulsivo ( para ser más exactos fueron 9). Sarah, nunca olvidare su nombre fue atenta, cariñosa y muy humana. Lloró conmigo cuando por fin me pusieron a mi hijo en mis brazos y nunca olvidare su sonrisa y sus palabras de ánimo.

Mi madre y mi pareja estuvieron todo el rato conmigo en la habitación y las matronas y el personal médico me explicaron en todo momento qué pasaban y qué iban a hacer. Me dieron opciones y me apoyaron, y cuando nació nuestro hijo, como es la tradición al menos en Escocia, nos prepararon un té con tostadas que nos supo a gloria después de toda una noche sin dormir.

Mi parto fue natural, es decir solo con gas&air. Elegí no tener epidural, ni ningún otro método para paliar el dolor porque quería estar plenamente presente en el parto,  pero como acabé con forceps y con una episiotomía tengo que decir que fue bastante duro.  Me preparé para el parto con hipnosis y me ayudó muchísimo para estar concentrada y calmada.

Si tengo un segundo parto no se si optaré por la epidural porque mi primer parto fue un poco traumático, pero lo importante no es que el parto natural sea el último objetivo a cumplir, sino cómo se sienta la mujer al respecto, que tipo de parto desee y en qué ambiente.

En el Reino Unido puedes elegir entre parto en casa, en el hospital pero con las matronas (que tienen un pabellón aparte) o en el hospital como una paciente mas. Yo elegí dar a luz en el pabellón de las matronas.

Me dieron una habitación para mi sola donde pude dilatar a mi ritmo, comer si quería, incluso nos llevamos una mini cadena portátil para escuchar algo de música. Podía moverme, y el ambiente era tranquilo, concentrado, casi místico.

Nunca volví a ver s Sarah una vez que di a luz, pero siempre la recordaré con muchísimo cariño. Por alguna extraña razón, y a pesar de que mi madre estaba presente, yo recurrí a Sarah como si ella guardara el secreto de dar a luz, de ayudar a las mujeres en esa transición, de acogerlas y animarlas.

Me sentí muy agradecida de haber podido vivir esa experiencia y de haberla podido compartir con mi familia. Cuando E. nació me lo colocaron encima de mi vientre. El pobre estaba todo morado de los fórceps, y no me separé de él en ningún momento. Todas las pruebas que le hicieron las  llevaron a cabo mientras yo estaba con él.

Una experiencia muy diferente de la que tuvieron mis amigas y familiares que han dado a luz en España. No se trata de heroísmos a la hora de parir, o de ver quien aguantó mejo el dolor,  sino de lograr que las mujeres podamos
sentirnos dueñas de ese momento tan importante en nuestras vidas. Se trata de
poder elegir estar presente, de buscar la manera en la que tu cuerpo te pide
parir, porque en definitiva, como dice una amiga, no se pare con la cabeza,
sino con el cuerpo, y para ello es necesario poder dar el espacio para que el
cuerpo encuentre su lugar.

En los últimos años veo cómo han cambiado las cosas en España, y espero que pronto las mujeres puedan decidir cómo parir y en condiciones más humanas para ellas y para sus bebes. El artículo de Celia Jan camina en esa dirección y me alegro enormemente.

Natalia

travelling

I will be travelling today and tomorrow…so see you next week!

Lucila

10 ways in which motherhood changed me

  • The total change of priorities that the overwhelming feelings of love for this little person brought out. And how this gave a new meaning to my relationship with my partner
  • Understanding the importance of female bonding
  • Realising that I could live with broken sleep for more than two years
  • My level of patience rose dramatically, as well as my level of (sometimes forced) flexibility
  • How naive and black and white I was about raising children and how many of the things I thought I knew or wanted to do before having children where wrong for me or did not work
  • I pay attention and trust my gut much more, and stand up for it.
  • I began to hate appointments, getting somewhere on time is not so easy now
  • I dramatically slowed down. My sense of what is productive time changed.
  • It made me question and work on different issues that I have been dragging around
  • I have a new ample avenue for research, worries and indignation

I am sure I left plenty of things out, but this are what come to mind now…how about you?

Lucila

Helping women to break the glass ceiling in academia

Gardiner, Maria; Tiggermann, Marika; Kearns, Hugh and Marshall, Kelly, 2007: ‘Show me the money! An empirical analysis of mentoring outcomes for women in academia’, Higher Education Research & Development, Vol. 26, No 4, pp. 425-442

In the last past months I’ve written a great deal on women in academia and the disadvantages that they suffer in terms of promotion, access to grants and interesting career prospects. This article addresses the same topic from a different perspective: it addresses what can be done to spawn a change in academia, and the answer that the authors give is mentoring.  

The data analysed in this article are related to a mentoring programme conducted at Flinders University in Australia. The project involved 22 female academics, mostly at Level B (lecturer), who had been employed by the university for around 5 years and were offered the possibility of joining a mentoring scheme. In order to assess the progress of this group another control group of 46 women with similar characteristics but not involved in mentoring was chosen. 

The article starts by presenting some well-known statistics and reasons for women’s lack advancement of in academia. The authors focus on the following reasons:

  • Lack of networking opportunities
  • Lower level of advancement in women’s research careers compared to their male colleagues

Some of these elements work in a vicious circle:

Women are unable to successfully apply for research grants because they do not have enough publications, but are unable to publish because they do not have adequate funding to conduct research. This would lead to poorer research ‘track records’ for women than for men, contributing to slower rates of career advancement.” (p. 427)

Mentoring is identified by the authors as an initiative that can increase the proportion of women in senior positions. Mentoring can be defined as “an informal process, in which the mentor and the mentee spontaneously form a relationship with the purpose of assisting the mentee in developing career-relevant skills” (p. 427). As the authors explain, several universities in Australia have launched mentoring programmes to assistin the learning and developing of their staff

According to the authors, many studies have shown the benefits of mentoring, including improved career outcomes and increased career satisfaction.

So, what was the outcome of their research?

  • Women that received mentoring were more likely to stay at the university, improving   female staff retention figures.
  • Those participating in the mentoring programme were more successful at securing external research grants than those in the group not benefiting from mentoring.
  • Mentees were promoted faster than those not participating in the mentoring scheme.
  • Mentees had a better publication record than those in the other group.

However, there were two areas in which both groups had almost similar results: career satisfaction and job satisfaction.  As the authors conclude:

Our findings indicate that, in the long term, mentoring seems mostly to affect mentees’ global sense of confidence as an academic, and in the short-term it reduces worries about research. However, our findings also indicate mentoring has minimal effect on career and job satisfaction” (p. 439).

I found this last conclusion very interesting, because it reveals how mentoring can help women to progress in academia, but does not necessarily make women at work happier.  This finding suggests that although mentoring or coaching can help women to progress in their careers, academia is, for a variety of reasons, an unfriendly place for women.

I would be interested to know why women progressing in their careers are still not happy. Is it that they need to work more than men for the same returns? Is it that women find it difficult to combine their careers as academics with their families?

I find mentoring and coaching in academia extremely interesting (I’m doing a PG in coaching). Somehow I think it’s not enough to leave all the responsibility for advancing her career to the individual. Mentoring and coaching in academia need to come with some sort of commitment from universities that they will make themselves more friendly to women and  minorities.

Natalia

Modest dress code and rape

The other day I talked to a friend about the sorts of messages women receive about avoiding being raped, and a modest dress code is definitely one of them.

I remember going to buy some clothes with my mum when I was around 15 years old and falling completely in love with a red miniskirt (bear in mind that in Spain in the ’80s ‘miniskirts’ were strictly on the knee). However, my mum insisted on my having one a size too big because, she said, “Luego pasan cosas” (afterwards things happen). I didn’t know what sort of things could happen to me wearing  that oversized miniskirt apart everybody laughing at me, but my mum seemed to have other things on her mind. Finally she bought the big miniskirt, and I decided it to roll it up whenever she wasn’t around.

In the ’80s’ , Grace Jones was an icon with her big shoulder pads and the image of a superwoman conquering and reaching high levels of achievement in her professional life. However, my puritan education did not leave a lot of room for lucubrations on miniskirts, tight tops and the meaning of being sexy at 15. My mum would have killed me if I’d dressed the way I see teenagers dressed these days, but of course that was long time ago when mothers could still lock the door and say: “I’m sorry, but you’re not going out to this party tonight because you slammed the door, and in this house we do ressssspectttttt and education”.

So I grew up with this stupid idea that dressing modestly was the right thing to do to avoid being raped, along with not getting drunk, being alert all the time when you go out and permanently vigilant when walking alone at night.  Later in my life, when I engaged in self-awareness groups, I was shocked to find out about the number of women who have suffered sexual abuse from their fathers, uncles, brothers or close relatives as children. So I learnt that women are more likely to be raped by someone they know than by a stranger.

If dress code doesn’t protect us from being raped, what is all this fuss about not dressing like a slut? You don’t need to scratch the surface much to realise that women are still perceived as sinners inciting men to do bad things.  Women get drunk and have this attitude, this way of dressing that is an invitation and a provocation, and it’s all women’s fault. Women are also whimsical and not very clear about what they want: when they say no, they might really want to say yes. None of this is new; we’ve heard it before. What is new is what Natasha Walker calls “the living doll” culture.

In a world in which being sexy and hot is very important, teenagers are getting the message that  you need to be sexy to be fashionable. I was shocked a couple of weeks ago when I watched a report by the BBC in which they showed a Primark T-shirt for little girls that read “Don’t even think about it”.  

However, once these little girls go for hot and sexy fashion, we tell them that if they are sexually abused or raped it’s entirely their fault. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that there’s something perverted in a society that allows this to happen.

On the 4th  of June I’m going to Edinburgh for the Slutwalk, not because I think that wearing very few clothes will help women’s liberation but rather because I think that an industry cannot spend thousands of millions of pounds telling women how to be sexy and hot in all circumstances and after tell them that they are inciting rape by following this advice.

What I would like to see as part of the slutwalk movement is people rejecting or at least reflecting this sexy totty culture, which I detest greatly. We are not made just for others’ pleasure, we’re not dolls, or objects for other people’s recreation.

Because of my mother I’m too shy (also a bit old, I must confess) to wear a very short miniskirt, but I will try to be in Edinburgh on the 4th because I think it’s important. Don’t expect me to be very adventurous in what I wear: I’ll just be modestly dressed as mother taught me, but I’ll be there in body and soul.

 Natalia

  

Entrevista con Laura Gutman

Laura Gutman es psicoterapeuta familiar argentina, y escritora, que publica entre otras cosas, sobre la maternidad, la paternidad, y vinculos primarios. En la primera parte de esta entrevista habla sobre el (no) valor social de la maternidad, el aislamiento materno, la necesidad de una ‘tribu’ para criar a los hijos, y los diferentes tironeos y desgarros que sufren las mujeren cuando se vuelven madres.

Espero que les guste.

Lucila