Women in Science
Taking Parental Leave
Video clip: Jamie, who was a doctoral (DPhil) student and externally funded, was relieved to know that the department would pay her stipend when she took maternity leave.
Do you think you get the same opportunities, being a woman, as men in your area?
I think in this area I feel like I do. For me I feel like things are changing in the Department in quite a good way and that because I’ve only been here for a few years I’m not sure if I would have felt the same way five years ago. But for me the biggest example of that is that I’m pregnant at the moment and before I decided whether or not I was going to do a PhD that was probably my biggest consideration because I was thinking, “Well I know that we probably are going to want to try to start trying for a baby in the next few years”, and at the time it wasn’t formalised whether or not there was maternity leave for PhD students. And so I did grapple with that a little bit and I thought, “You know what I’m just going to have to go for it because what if I don’t get pregnant etc.”
It was a really difficult decision but I thought, “I’m not going to give up opportunities, I’m just going to go for it.” And really fortunately within that time the Department did formalise its policy and say that PhD students who were externally funded would also receive maternity leave even if their funding organisation didn’t provide it and so in that sense that’s been incredibly lucky. But if that hadn’t worked out that way or if I had made a different decision before starting the PhD then that to me would have been the only place where I felt like my opportunities were maybe slightly different.
But for us, my husband doesn’t make a huge amount of money and we need my income as well. And so now the Department puts in the money to cover your stipend for six months at whatever that stipend was before you went which is just…