I am an anthropologist – a research academic in a Top 20 uni. I’ve relied, since I graduated, on getting research grants – a series of fixed term contracts in effect. I’ve been unusually successful at this and with publications and teaching I felt pretty secure despite my lack of permanent contract in a department which appreciated my work.
After I returned to work (and my British Academy research fellowship) following my son’s birth however I started having problems. With over a year left on the fellowship i started looking to apply for other grants. My Head of Department started talking about ways to get me a permanent contract. But every approach was blocked by the Dean of Faculty. I assumed because things were difficult for the whole faculty so I accepted it. Then I was told I couldn’t apply for grants in my own name anymore – and attempts to do so with colleagues were blocked. I assumed I was small fry, too junior for the Dean to know who I was or care and that this reflected a new research regime post-REF. After a year of this I heard from a supportive senior colleague that the Dean had reacted very strongly to my name being out forward in a meeting (an un-minuted meeting) in which she said I’d cost the faculty 15000. This can only be a reference to my maternity package (and neatly ignored the fact that my current fellowship must have bought in over 100,000 in overheads to the Faculty).
So now I know why I will be made redundant when this fellowship ends, but have no way of demonstrating why my every attempt to secure more research funding has been blocked.
Just for the record, the Dean is female and has a child of her own (now grown-up).
And they wonder why there are so few women professors in uk unis.