Generous maternity leave has made me a better academic

Feb 9, 2018 by

Universities with the best provision employ more women professors. This doesn’t surprise me at all

I always had the sense I was lucky with my maternity leave provision. When I read reports of just how wildly provisions vary at other universities, I knew it. Six months at full pay has been hugely beneficial for my career – what a shame it is far from guaranteed for others.

Some colleagues see it as an extended holiday; in reality it is anything but. In a job like academia, where you’re personally invested in your work, it’s hard to let go. I’ve revised and publicised several papers, corrected proofs, written a book review and submitted a grant application. I have also signed a book contract and started work on the manuscript. It was approved at an editorial meeting after my baby was born. I’ve also lightly worked on two more co-authored publications, although my colleagues have done the bulk of the work after I laid the groundwork last year.

The difference for me is that all of this has been my choice. I’ve found the space afforded by maternity leave – away from daily admin, teaching and meetings – immensely beneficial to the research side of my job. I’ve maintained some of the publication pipeline, but the real benefit has been the space to read widely and to think.

I have read weird and wonderful things – and they have fed back into a connected and concrete vision of my next big research project. If there is one thing that 2am feeds are good for, it is letting the mind wander and gently worry away at things without any pressure to resolve them immediately.

Source: Generous maternity leave has made me a better academic | Anonymous Academic | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

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