A few months ago, a war broke out in a Facebook group over one very heated question. Should writers be allowed to bring their babies and young children to conferences?
This is especially relevant since I write children's books. Banning children from a conference full of children's writers seems strange, to say the least. But if any of you have ever sat in church or a public performance with a crying baby in the audience, you know why they aren't customarily allowed.
Still, many moms believe it excludes those who are economically disadvantaged. In other words, if a single mom can't afford childcare for her infant/toddler, she misses out on an important career-building opportunity.
Other conference attendees passionately argue against children at conferences, comparing it to bringing a child to the office. It is, they say, a professional setting, not a daycare.
But there are some documented benefits of allowing children at business conferences, including the publicity that comes with being mom-friendly. Experts say it will attract more women for those conferences struggling to get better attendance numbers.
There is, of course, the option of providing childcare so moms can actually enjoy the sessions without the stress of keeping someone quiet. Some organizations even specialize in offering childcare services for conferences. Of course, that costs money...and many conferences have to weigh whether the investment is worth it for higher attendance numbers.
What do you think? Should conferences allow little ones or should it be an adults-only zone?