THE MYTH OF ‘BABY BRAIN’ BUSTED
Among the allegations of bullying and degradation made against senior managers of Australia’s air traffic controllers, there’s one that’s particularly galling for working women.
One manager, Peter Holmes, is alleged to have said: ‘it is well known that women get dumber when they were (sic) pregnant.’
This is one part of a complaint about the managerial conduct at Airservices Australia in an amended writ filed in the Federal Court by air-traffic controller Kirsty Fletcher, who is suing ASA for discrimination.
There are any number of male buffoons I’d like to see go head-to-head (or beer gut-to-bump) with women who have worked right through their pregnancies and remained entirely focussed and utterly capable.
I worked in the demanding environment of breakfast radio (2DAYFM) through my pregnancies, as did Amanda Keller (2WS) and Kate Langbroek (Nova 100). Getting through the early mornings in a hormonal ‘fog’ just doesn’t cut it. For this type of fast-paced work – much of it improvised – you have to be 100 per cent on the ball. A quick study. All that. (Something you’d think air traffic controllers would understand).
ABC breakfast host and journalist Virginia Trioli is about to take leave for the birth of her first child, as is 7.30 co-host, Leigh Sales – both jobs require exceptional skill and perception. Chrissie Swann’s wit was at full wattage on The Circle when she was pregnant and, of course, we all watched Paper Giants and saw publishing maven Ita Buttrose (portrayed by Asher Keddie, left) skilfully negotiate the blokey world of media in the 1970s with a baby bump without becoming an addled dimwit.
We may not be able to fit through the door, but we remain fast on our feet.
Study after study has proven that “baby brain” or “preg head” is a myth.
Not only that, the studies also say that women’s intelligence actually increases women’s mental abilities.
In 2009 Professor Helen Christensen, of the Australian National University in Canberra, was part of a research team that tracked 2500 women over 10 years found no difference between their brainpower before and during their pregnancies.
The women were tested in four areas of cognition:cognitive speed, working memory and immediate and delayed recall.
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