Improving and Promoting the Use of Nurseries and Parental Leave Systems

We are doing this kind of activity

  • Accompanying Interpreting by FResHU supporters
  • Towards enhancement of childcare environment Work on related stations
  • Improvement of childcare situation around Hakodate campus and remote research facilities
  • Summer / winter holiday period of elementary and junior high schools, grasp the needs of correspondence at the time of illness, improvement of support measures.

Life’s Exigencies: Building Flexible Systems to Meet Child Care and Family Caregiving Needs

Pregnancy and childbirth often completely transform the lifestyles of female researchers compared to those they had on their own or with their partners. The birth of a baby, although a joyful occasion, necessitates enormous physical and mental effort in adapting to a new life. The need to care for a family member such as a parent, but also a partner, can also arise without warning. While Hokkaido University offers a variety of systems for accommodating life events such as maternity, parenting, or family caregiving through special or partial leave (i.e., reduced working hours), the current situation is that such utilization by female researchers is extremely low. The reasons for this state of affairs include the difficulty of taking leave amidst fierce competition for research and career opportunities, as well as the difficulty of finding a substitute to cover duties. Furthermore, these systems, in spite of their ostensible purpose, are themselves difficult to access or may not match the requirements or realities of employment.

In order to ameliorate this situation, we are aiming to review and broaden the convenience of the current system at FResHU by soliciting and reflecting on the voices of female researchers as well as their partners and families. We are looking to investigate the creation of systems that are capable of responding with flexibility to necessary periods of leave that can occur unexpectedly in the growth stages of children and as parents grow older. We are also focusing on a secondary peak in the rate of women leaving work (not limited to researchers), which follows the peak that occurs with the birth of their first child, and takes place when that child enters elementary school. The current system does not respond well to the period of compulsory education in elementary and junior high schools, and we are thus promoting and investigating the parental support necessary during this period.