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Early Career Researchers’ Experiences of Post-Maternity and Parental Leave Provision in UK Politics and International Studies Departments: A Heads of Department and Early Career Researcher Survey

Akram, S and Pflaeger Young, Z (2020) Early Career Researchers’ Experiences of Post-Maternity and Parental Leave Provision in UK Politics and International Studies Departments: A Heads of Department and Early Career Researcher Survey. Political Studies Review. ISSN 1478-9299

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Abstract

© The Author(s) 2020. Supporting increasing equality and diversity in the recruitment and retention of Early Career Researchers from the widest pool of talent available is high on the agenda of universities and policy makers. Notwithstanding this, the demanding nature of academic careers has a disproportionate effect on Early Career Researchers, who may face indirect obstacles in their career development particularly following a period of maternity or parental leave. Our research seeks to expose the nexus of challenges, from job insecurity to the pressures of raising new families that Early Career Researchers face during this critical juncture in their career trajectory. Focusing on Politics and International Studies Departments in the United Kingdom, we document the institutional mechanisms that exist to support Early Career Researchers returning from maternity and parental leave through a Heads of Department and an Early Career Researcher survey to gain an understanding of needs and the impact of institutional measures. Adopting a feminist institutionalist analysis, we map gendered outcomes in the university, through formal and informal rules, which mitigate against those Early Career Researchers taking maternity and parental leave. We end by identifying specific measures which would help to ensure that the university is more supportive of Early Career Researchers taking maternity and parental leave.

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