The Associate Lecturer: Women & Work Series

Continuing the Women & Work Series today is Amy, an Associate Lecturer and mother of two. She’s recently moved across the country and so has recent experience of trying to navigate the job market for the right role.

If you missed the first post in the series, in which we spoke to Paula, you can check it out, along with all of the other Women & Work blogs here.

Whereabouts in the UK are you and are you working at the moment?

I’m now based in Middlesbrough after having moved from the North West and I’m now working for the Open University as an Associate Lecturer.

Have you had to reconsider your career choices in the last five years?


Do you have children and if so, how has having them impacted on your career?

I can’t work the unsociable hours and I can’t stay late with no notice. I also missed the informal stuff with colleagues after work which essentially means networking is lost.

What do you think about the current situation for female employees with children?

While policies might be there, in reality, they are not useful. For example employers must ‘consider’ flexible working but invariably will say no, as it’s not going to benefit the organisation.

Have you ever experienced any hardships or challenges at work due to having children?

Yes. There have been many occasions where I’ve had to choose career or family.

Do you think there’s enough support and understanding in the workplace for women who have kids?

It very much depends on the organisation and the line manager.

Do you think there are equal opportunities for women to succeed at work?

No. Whilst they may be there on paper the realities of a gender imbalance in care is very real. This leads to opportunities being missed.

Additionally, women are judged for being career driven by other women who think they should be at home/with kids and are judged by men for not being able to give the same amount of time to work as they do.

What are your thoughts on the gender pay gap issue?

It is obscene that women and men are still paid a different wage for the same job and having a scale within a scale allows for this.

I know of women who are child-free by choice who are paid on a lower scale point than male colleagues who do the same job.

They are also expected to take on the ‘caring’ role in the office and say yes to additional responsibilities due to their gender.

How has your attitude towards your work and career changed over the last five years?

It has definitely shifted – I’ve accepted that what I saw as my career path had to change and that family would always take priority over work. But I also recognise that I am lucky to be in a position where that’s a possibility for my family without any significant changes to our way of living.

I am also lucky that I’ve managed to find work which seems to allow me to do both.

What are your thoughts on Amy’s comments? Do they ring true with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on these issues and also get your input! If you’d like to take part in this series and add your thoughts, please do get in touch. You can tweet me or send me an email at [email protected] to get involved. Next time, we’re talking all things work-life balance with Gillian, an Associate Director.

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