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Published Conference Proceedings - Paper
September 2019

Organisational Support Throughout The Maternity Journey: The Perceptions Of Female Academics In UK Universities (1101)

Lord, J & Joel, A 2019, 'Organisational Support Throughout The Maternity Journey: The Perceptions Of Female Academics In UK Universities (1101)', #BAM 2019 (British Academy of Management) ##BAM #Birmingham#United Kingdom.


 Abstract: Females represent nearly half of all Higher Education HE academic staff but they continue to be significantly underrepresented within more senior academic positions, in particular professorial roles. With this in mind, the workplace barriers that this group face in pursuing a traditionally successful academic career have been analysed in depth revealing that the decision to have children can act as the primary barrier for career progression. This paper seeks to address the gap by gaining an insightful understanding of organisational support throughout womens maternity journey through the analysis of narrative interviews with twenty six female academics who have had children, followed by interviews with various key actors working in HE with experience of managing maternity for academics. The first part of the narrative interviews with academic mothers explored their perceptions of organisational support whilst they were pregnant at work, and took maternity leave. The participants revealed that they had experienced unfair treatment for being pregnant or taking adoption leave, and experienced difficulty due a lack of maternity cover arrangements.The third stage of womens narratives revealed that there was a lack of awareness for psychological support required after return to work from maternity, and both HR professionals and line managers agreed. This concept was particularly lacking in related literature. Finally, in the fourth stage womens narratives, highlighted that their experiences of gradual career progression post maternity were difficult. The evidence derived from the four different stages shows that organisational support throughout an academics maternity journey remains lacking and underdeveloped. The issue under consideration thus requires further attention, both in theory and practice in order to ensure more suitable support is extended to working mothers in academia.


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External Authors

Anna Joel

Publication Details

Conference Proceedings
Lord, J & Joel, eds. 2019, BAM 2019 (British Academy of Management) , BAM , Birmingham, United Kingdom.