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International and Local Strategies to Assist Women Returning to Work

The following information on provisions which would assist women returning to work has been obtained from university websites. Most strategies which would support returning to work in overseas universities are focused on academic women in science, technology and engineering. This is because of the particular challenges faced by women returning after career breaks to fastpaced disciplines and the shortage of women in these fields. International Universities The University of Bristol Women Returners Scheme is for lecturers, senior lecturers and professors in engineering, science and medical and veterinary sciences. It enables women to have six months protected research time with no teaching or administrative duties when they return to work from maternity leave. Cambridge University has a formula for assessing the ‘academic age’ of a candidate which subtracts parental leave and some other forms of career break. The University of Nottingham offers two-year postdoctoral fellowships to women engineers and scientists. The scheme is designed to offer support and flexibility to women returning from maternity leave. Candidates must have had no more than four years’ full-time postdoctoral experience since submitting a PhD, but carer breaks such as maternity leave can be discounted and part-time is considered on a pro-rata basis. The fellowship allows women to convert from full to part–time appointments (and back again) to fit in with family responsibilities. It is possible to claim some funding for family support, such as childcare costs during conference leave. Australian universities offer similar fellowships. The University of Queensland offers three postdoctoral research fellowships open to women with a PhD or equivalent qualification whose academic careers have been interrupted, delayed or otherwise constrained by family or other responsibilities. According to a survey conducted by the University of Queensland’s Equity Office, the Universities of Melbourne, Ballarat, Wollongong, Western Australia, Sydney, New South Wales, Flinders and Queensland, all offer various forms of funding or bonuses to academic women returning to work. The terms attached to this funding varies from a very broad purpose, which can include childcare fees, to more specific purposes of conference attendance and teaching buy-out to enable women to focus on research. Monash University provides its renowned $15,000 Populate and Publish Grant to women returning from maternity leave and it can be used to hire a research assistant to ensure research projects continue and to provide supervision for the academic’s postgraduate students. Sydney University of Technology appears to be the only university with information on its website offering funding ($4,000) available to both general and academic staff for assistance with development needs on return to work. Harvard University’s widely publicised expenditure of $US 7.5 million on work-life balance initiatives included ‘the development of additional child care capacity on and near campus; a 53 percent increase in child-care scholarships for faculty and staff, which will make over $2 million available each year; a 50 percent increase in annual operating support for the six Harvard-affiliated child-care centres; and special

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Profile for Tertiary Education Union

Women Returning to Work  

a joint project by the University of Auckland and the Association of University Staff analysing women’s experiences returning to work after...

Women Returning to Work  

a joint project by the University of Auckland and the Association of University Staff analysing women’s experiences returning to work after...

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