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Maternity leave and closing the gender gap

29 July 2020

Torso of pregnant woman

A labour economist from Cardiff University will lend her expertise to a new collaborative research community set to explore the effectiveness of maternity leave packages offered by UK Higher Education Institutions in closing the gender gap.

Dr Ezgi Kaya, a Lecturer in Economics at Cardiff Business School, together with an interdisciplinary team of experts led by Dr Joanna Clifton-Sprigg, from the University of Bath, was successful in securing a share of the GW4 Alliance Generator Award of £100,000 funding.

The GW4 Alliance is a consortium of four of the most research-intensive and innovative universities in the UK; Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, and supports collaborative research communities with projects exploring a range of societal, industrial, and global challenges through its Generator Award.

A societal challenge

Various policies, including maternity leave, are aimed at reducing gender labour market inequalities, but little is known about their effectiveness, particularly in academia.

The ‘Maternity leave in the UK – a gender gap closing policy?’ community will establish an interdisciplinary network, with the aim of delivering a step-change in labour market research, focusing on this policy-relevant question.

Dr Kaya said: “I’m excited to be part of this new GW4 initiative which will increase our capacity and capability to deliver an ambitious research agenda perceiving the societal challenge from diverse viewpoints...”

“Of course, we hope that the outcomes of the collaboration will contribute to the wider debate on the gender gap. Societal challenges such as these are at the forefront of our public value research agenda at Cardiff Business School, and so it is really gratifying to be part of a community effort to address these in a wider GW4 context too.”

Dr Ezgi Kaya Senior Lecturer in Economics

Joining Dr Kaya and Dr Clifton-Sprigg is fellow labour economist Dr Eleonora Fichera from the University of Bath, sociologist Professor Susan Harkness from the University of Bristol, and social and organisational psychologist Professor Michelle Ryan from the University of Exeter.

The project is one of eight to receive the GW4 Generator Award and will take place over six months starting from 1 August 2020.

An online launch event took place on 21 July 2020 where researchers were introduced to the GW4 team and the wide range of resources and information available including communications support and funding advice.

Each project will deliver its content online including virtual workshops and networking events.

Find out more about all of the projects underway as part of the GW4 Generator Award.

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