We are living in a time of change, where women are fighting against gender bias, and are doing an amazing job of balancing career and family. However, as a young woman at the start of her career in science, I do still wonder how it all works when you want to take time off to have kids. I contacted The Female Scientist to see if there was anyone who could write about their experiences and share them on the blog, however they suggested I write a piece with my questions, to kick-start this important discussion, so here goes!
I realise that experiences will be different between countries, and between individuals, but it would be great to hear a lot of different stories from women in academia who have had children.
Let’s start with Fellowships. Say you have a 2-year post-doctoral fellowship, when you go on maternity leave, does that fellowship ‘pause’ while you are on maternity leave and you pick up where you left off when you return? If so, how long can you ‘pause’ your fellowship for – the standard parental leave time, or longer?
If your salary is funded by a fellowship or grant, do you get paid maternity leave? If so, where does that money come from? The institution you work for?
Finally, how much time did you take off work? Did you work at home (writing papers etc) or did you completely switch off from your work? What were your experiences returning to work, whether you took a long period of time off or just a short period of time?
Note: This is supposed to be a growing guide. Can you help our author answering those questions? Would you like to add your experiences? Please comment or write to email@example.com!