University research evaluation process ignores mothers

Feminist Philosophers have drawn our attention to a retrograde step in the government’s latest university research assessment process, the REF 2014. The REF 2014 will evaluate research excellence in all university departments to enable the government to allocate research funds accordingly. As part of the process, all research-active staff in university departments will submit four pieces of work which are read and assessed, with some submitting fewer pieces in special circumstances.

While the REF 2014’s predecessor, the RAE 2008, allowed women who had taken one period of maternity leave to submit three pieces, the proposed rules for the new process will mean that even women who take TWO periods of maternity leave will not be eligible for a reduction. You can read more details here.

This proposal clearly discriminates against women by failing to take into account their caring responsibilities. It may also mean that female-dominated departments will miss out on recognition and funding. So, if you’re involved in higher education research, you can voice your opinion on the proposal here. Feminist Philosophers have been told that it would also be good to lobby your university to make sure they include this point in their overall response to the REF2014 consultation.

Photo by Roman Mager on Unsplash.