Athena SWAN in SHW

Maternity, paternity, parental and carer issues

Photo of pregnant woman sitting on a park bench


Kirsty Dunn and Elise Whitley


The group is currently working on the following main aims:

  • Annually in October, collecting and interpreting gender-sensitive issues on:
    • maternity leave, length, return rate, numbers remaining in posts 6, 12, and 18 months after returning, and by contract type;
    • data on staff whose contracts ran out and were not renewed while on maternity leave;
    • paternity, parental, and adoption leave and return rate;
    • applications for flexible working and success rates; numbers working flexibly
    • number of Keep-In-Touch (KIT) days taken by staff
    • uptake of staff carer leave
  • Working with the SHW 50+ (wellbeing for older workers) Athena Swan group, reviewing the university-wide carer policy, considering what further improvements for staff carers could be achieved
  • Identifying and raising awareness of issues our staff with caring responsibilities have, including both parents and staff carers

The working group meets at least three times each year.


During the past year, the group mostly focused on two areas – transitioning from our maternity/paternity buddy scheme to the maternity/paternity champion and on actions around staff carers. This included a video recorded to raise awareness of issues unpaid carers around the country face; a webinar held during Carers Week; collecting data from staff carers to understand what issues they specifically face and what further actions could be done to try and alleviate some of the pressures.

Arising out of our work relating to caring responsibilities, a peer support group for staff carers has been set up on MS Teams. If you are a carer and would like to join, please send an email to Jana Anderson or Elise Whitley

Future plans

We expect to work with our staff carers to identify further support. We are seeing new or worse issues faced both by parents and carers during the COVID-19 pandemic and we will work with other Athena Swan groups to try to address these.

All parents (staff)

SHW information, initiatives and guidelines
UofG information, initiatives and guidelines
External sources of information

All parents (students)

Postgraduate taught students
Postgraduate research students