The academic job situation in southern Europe isn't good. ... The academic job situation anywhere isn't good. I hear stories of yearly contracts not being renewed, or not being renewed until they have either almost expired, or a few weeks after they've expired. I hear about faculty staying on for months without pay or with reduced pay.
I just heard a story about a woman who commutes a long distance to teach classes at a satellite campus. Her baby is due at the end of November. The university doesn't have a plan yet to cover her classes. I blurted out something about a belief I had about Europe having great healthcare/maternity protections. The others at the table tell me that not giving her a break may not be legal, but now isn't the time to push on these issues. I don't know what to say. If there are faculty working for no pay, how does a pregnant woman demand that someone cover the last few weeks of term?
This isn't the biggest issue in the European economic crisis. But insofar as this blog chronicles the instances of sexism I see in my field, this situation is worth noting.