Parenthood and Caring Responsibilities

The University of Manchester offers many family-friendly support options including childcare initiatives to help reduce costs; a salary exchange scheme for paying for childcare, childcare vouchers and two on site nurseries (Dryden Street Nursery and Echoes Day Nursery).

There are separate policies for staff in place for Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave including Shared Parental Leave, Adoption Leave, Parental Leave, Special Leave and also for Research Council Funded Students.

The University Equality and Diversity Office offer returners the opportunity to join the Returning from maternity, paternity or adoption leave support group.

Jean McFarlane Building Rooms G.315, G.316 and G.317 – all on the ground floor, all have frosted glass in the door and can be locked from the inside so that they can be used for breast feeding. They also have a fridge in the room behind Reception that can be used for storing milk. Please just call into reception in the Jean McFarlane Building if you wish to use a breastfeeding room. For those on North Campus you can use the Occupational Health Suite (Room B1) in The Mill - the suite has quiet rooms and fridges. Please contact Jackie Wilkinson x64007 if you wish to use the facilities or just pop in.

The University recognises the difficulties faced by members of staff with caring responsibilities and offers career breaks in order to help facilitate greater work-life balance for these groups of staff and in August 2014, the Staff With Caring Responsibilities Peer Support Group was established.

Case studies

Our academic career stories from the University of Manchester demonstrate that it is possible to be a woman with a family and have a successful academic career. For example:

Returning to academia after a career break

There are some specific resources and initiatives aimed at supporting women returning to academia after a career break. Although some of these initiatives are mainly driven by encouraging women in science and engineering to return to work, the university plans and policies on women returning to work (see Athena SWAN Charter) generally cover all disciplines, and many of the case studies and profiles are relevant, whatever your discipline.

Organisations and training supporting women returning to science and engineering/academic careers:

  • Athena SWAN Charter - "recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology (SET) in higher education and research". Includes case studies of university departments and their plans to support women in academia.
  • The UKRC - provides advice, services and policy consultation regarding the under-representation of women in science, engineering, technology and the built environment (SET). Includes case studies of women returning to a range of careers, including academia.
  • The Open University "Return to science, engineering and technology" course (T161) - a ten week course aimed at those who have already studied or worked in SET and wish to return.


In addition, there are some fellowships and bursaries specifically aimed at encouraging those who have had career breaks to return to work:

  • Daphne Jackson Fellowships - designed to help scientists, engineers and technologists back into a career after a break, normally undertaken on a part-time basis.
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