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Women in Science

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Interview excerpt: Alison said the lack of precedence for working part-time and the need to return to her research duties were important in her returning to work full-time, but she does not regret the dip in publications during her maternity leave.

Alison NobleYou've always worked full time?

Yes. Other than two short maternity leaves.

And was that something that you always thought you'd do or was it, did you feel pressured to keep up with the?

It was my choice the way I wanted to manage things. I didn't want to take time off and then figure out how to come back. In my department there aren't many female academics; I was the first female academic to take maternity leave in 13 years when I did: so there was no recent precedence to follow. There was also no model of how you could go part time.

And looking back now would you do that the same?

Yes. I think it was hard at the time because in academia no one replaces you in all your day-to-day duties, they can't easily replace you in terms of supervision of PhD students and leading a research programme, they can replace teaching, which was done in my case, but I think from a research point of view you've got to accept you will not be as productive over that period of time. I think a lot of the people will find this, but there is a dip in my publications associated with my maternity leaves. You can either fret about that or you just acknowledge that it will happen, but that it happened for a very good and valid reason and it's just life.