There has been plenty of research on women in academia, but there should still be MORE in this humble blogger's mind. Today I was reflecting on the role of women in academia after reading the following section of an article:
[From Huffignton Post article, "Gen X women succeed at work, have fewer kids" on 9-13-11]
"The women of Generation X are a hard-working bunch. They're so hard working, in fact, that many of them are opting to not have children, according to new research from the Center for Work Life Policy. The study, titled "The X Factor: Tapping into the Strengths of the 33 to 46-year-old Generation," concluded that Gen Xers, who you might think of as the "Reality Bites" generation, have gradually shed their slacker reputation to become more ambitious and educated.But they are also more likely to be childless than members of their parents' generation -- over 40 percent of women between the ages of 41 to 45 surveyed didn't have children. It's also true that whether it's extreme jobs, or the financial pressure on this generation, many individuals decide they want to do two things well, and not three things badly. Those two things are their relationship and their career."
Though the Center for Work Life study above notes this is a generational trend, it is also a trend long-seen in certain careers, such as higher education. Women in academia have struggled with the decision about if and when to have children while balancing their work life and the tenure track, which coincides with peak/traditional childbearing years. This dilemma showed up in my dissertation research back in 2007 and seems as prominent today. Here is a brief excerpt from my dissertation titled "A phenomenological examination of tenure-track female faculty members' socialization into the culture of higher education" which looked at the lives of 8 pre-tenure, tenure-track women at R1 universities in a variety of disciplines.
|"balance" (free use photo from Flickr)|
- August, L. & Waltman, J. (2004). Culture, climate and contribution: Career satisfaction among female faculty. Research in Higher Education, 45(2), 177-192.
- Banerji, S. (2006). AAUP: Women professors lag in tenure, salary. Diverse: Issues inHigher Education, 23(20), 27.
- Robst, J., VanGilder, J., & Polacheck, S. (2003). Perceptions of female faculty treatment inhigher education: Which institutions treat women more fairly? Economics of Education Review, 22(1), 59-68.
- Takiff, H. A., Sanchez, D. T., & Stewart, T. L. (2001). What’s in a name? The status implications of students’ terms of address for male and female professors. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 25, 134-144.
- Umbach, P. D. (2007). Gender equity in the academic labor market: An analysis of academic disciplines. Research in Higher Education, 48(2), 169-192.