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Do I say I've been on mat leave? (Academic job interview)

(6 Posts)
CityDweller Fri 17-Jun-16 11:06:18

Interview coming up for academic post. Been a bit of a lull in my research output over the last year cos I've been on maternity leave. If this comes up in interview (the lack of outputs over last year) should I say I've been on mat leave? I don't want the fact that I have small children to count against me (even if it's unconscious bias), but also don't want them to think I've been doing nothing for a year for not good reason...

MarasmeAbsolu Fri 17-Jun-16 21:32:36

Interview style makes this unlikely to be asked in an overt way.
However, you can anticipate questions on your publication strategy, which may relate directly (or not) to the lull.
It's an opportunity to put a positive spin on it: "while on mat leave, I managed to sustain the publication momentum" (assuming you ve got a few outputs to show for it). Show how you planned for it, anticipated / managed it.

Worth also highlighting if you are now better at prioritising / time managing - I know I am!

esornep Sat 18-Jun-16 09:17:47

Since you have been on maternity leave, you will be allowed to submit fewer publications in the next REF. It's relevant for them to know this, because most interview panels are judging your research in the context of REF.

This said, I personally would be very reluctant to discuss my family status because I do think that people are much more reluctant to hire women with small children. (But this is in a field where there are very few women, and very few of the women do have children.)

FoggyBottom Sat 18-Jun-16 19:27:21

You very much should mention it - for REF purposes you must! I'd be irritated if you were my colleague and didn't, as we you claim mitigation of outputs for maternity leaves.

Indeed, it was a joke around prep for the last REF that the best thing young women could do to bolster their REF was to have at least one maternity leave, late in the REF so they only had to produce 3 4* outputs rather than 4 like the rest of us!

esornep Sat 18-Jun-16 22:45:40

Indeed, it was a joke around prep for the last REF that the best thing young women could do to bolster their REF was to have at least one maternity leave, late in the REF so they only had to produce 3 4 outputs rather than 4 like the rest of us!*

But they had to produce 3 4* outputs in a shorter amount of working time than you had to produce 4. It would be extremely unfair if maternity leave was not reflected in reduced outputs being required.

And taking the maternity leave late in the REF cycle might be terrific for that cycle, but in many cases it would adversely affect the next cycle. Most women find that their outputs are in case OK in number in the year the baby is born; it's in the next year or two that their publication numbers drop before picking up again.

FoggyBottom Sun 19-Jun-16 12:10:10

Well obviously esornep - that's why I (among others) spent considerable time not doing my own research crafting my university's response to HEFCE's framework back in 2012, including making the point that while mitigation of one output per maternity leave made some acknowledgement of the unequal burden childbearing/rearing puts on academics who are also mothers, it didn't quite cover the longer term deficit in research time consequent on the expectation of women's unpaid labour as mothers.

But, you know, it was much easier in the last REF to make the case for maternity leave mitigation than any number of other "complex personal circumstances" for many other colleagues, which I had to make in their support again, losing my own research time with no mitigation

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