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Motherhood in Academia: a novel dataset with an application to maternity leave uptake

Motherhood in Academia: a novel dataset with an application to maternity leave uptake

518/2020 Vera E. Troeger, Riccardo Di Leo, Thomas J. Scotto and Mariaelisa Epifanio
working papers,political economy

518/2020 Vera E. Troeger, Riccardo Di Leo, Thomas J. Scotto and Mariaelisa Epifanio

Legislation over the past two decades enhanced the availability and quantity of statutory maternity leave in the United Kingdom. In high-skilled sectors, many employers top up this maternity leave in an effort to retain and develop the careers of women. As leave provision became more generous, debates emerged as to the role, if any, these enhanced benefits have in retaining women in high status occupation and facilitating their career growth. Further, individual situations and employment status may prevent women from taking advantage of enhanced benefits. This paper presents findings from a comprehensive survey of thousands of women in the UK Higher Education sector and documents how the lives of academic mothers changed over the past quarter century. Contract status and the partner’s participation in parenting has significant effects on the types of maternity leave taken. We reflect on these findings and discuss future research in the area of labour market equity and productivity the availability of this comprehensive quantitative survey of academic women can facilitate.

Political Economy