Synopses & Reviews
Every year, American universities publish glowing reports stating their commitment to diversity, often showing statistics of female hires as proof of success. Yet, although women make up increasing numbers of graduate students, graduate degree recipients, and even new hires, academic life remains overwhelming a man's world. The reality that the statistics fail to highlight is that the presence of women, specifically those with children, in the ranks of tenured faculty has not increased in a generation. Further, those women who do achieve tenure track placement tend to report slow advancement, income disparity, and lack of job satisfaction compared to their male colleagues.
Amid these disadvantages, what is a Mama, PhD to do? This literary anthology brings together a selection of deeply felt personal narratives by smart, interesting women who explore the continued inequality of the sexes in higher education and suggest changes that could make universities more family-friendly workplaces.
The contributors hail from a wide array of disciplines and bring with them a variety of perspectives, including those of single and adoptive parents. They address topics that range from the level of policy to practical day-to-day concerns, including caring for a child with special needs, breastfeeding on campus, negotiating viable maternity and family leave policies, job-sharing and telecommuting options, and fitting into desk/chair combinations while eight months pregnant.
Candid, provocative, and sometimes with a wry sense of humor, the thirty-five essays in this anthology speak to and offer support for any woman attempting to combine work and family, as well as anyone who is interested in improving the university's ability to live up to its reputation to be among the most progressive of American institutions.
"A timely, practical book that reveals one of the academy's best kept secrets. The life of a professor is a rich and satisfying life even for mothers!"
andquot;Illuminating. Do Babies Matter?
is the first comprehensive examination of the relationship between family formation and the academic careers of men and women.andquot;
andquot;This towering book of extensive empirical analysis gives us an in-depth portrait of academia as a workplace in the United States. Its deft interweaving of clear narrative and complex data makes it invaluable to anyone and everyone working in higher education today.andquot;
andquot;Hereandrsquo;s the path-breaking research that convinced the huge University of California system to implement the best package of family friendly policies anywhere. Want to retain women in academia? Read this book.andquot;
andquot;Do Babies Matter is data rich, empirically sound, and full of practical application. The authors' life course perspective is one that is often missing from research about faculty careers. Their experiences are a welcome addition to what we know about work and family in higher education.andquot;
andquot;Do Babies Matter?
is a riveting read, from its startling title to its formidable array of statistical, anecdotal and interpretive evidence of serious gender and family trouble in the contemporary academy, to its visionary policy advice on how to improve things in this important area of cultural life.andquot;
andquot;One of the primary strengths of this book is in tracing the impact of marriage and family throughout the academic lifecourse, rather than just during the early years. Do Babies Matter
is very successful in explicating the complex relationships between family life and career progression across the academic lifecourse.andquot;
andquot;Do Babies Matter? provides readers with clear data about the problems associated with merging academic careers and parenthood.andquot;
"Ward and Wolf-Wendel offer the unique contribution of a longitudinal study, following women through different stages of their academic careers. Their findings are both illuminating and uplifting."
"Well-written, personal, insightful and engaging, Mama, PhD gives an accurate glimpse into the feelings and conflicts that mothers in academia don't often reveal because such disclosure is felt to be unprofessional."
"All those sleepless nights and dirty diapers and baby food in your hair-where's the discursive construction of motherhood when you need it? It's here, in these smart, funny, poignant essays that struggle to balance mind and body, to balance body and soul."
"Through the voices of those who have weathered the storm, Mama, PhD provides invaluable lessons for young scholars-both men and women-striving to navigate family and academic careers."
"This is a charming, heartfelt book that expresses the difficulties and the joys of combining a life in academia with motherhood. Each story is different, but the experiences and challenges are widely shared."
"Each writer beautifully articulates the personal details of her own experiences. Whether working to conceal their family lives in order to maintain professional credibility, fighting with administrators for fair and flexible treatment, defiantly toting infants into the offices of their advisers, or dropping out of academia to search for different ways to combine intellect and motherhood, the contributors to Mama, PhD offer themselves up as potential role models to women wondering how to tackle these two demanding responsibilities."
"An optimistic narrative of work-family balance among women with PhDs. Mama PhD gave advice about achieving a successful work-family balance in academia, presented several models of success, and left me with a more optimistic view of my chances at balancing child raising with s successful career."
"A unique and potent mixture of memoir, analysis, and advocacy. Mama PhD stands out in its ability to blend testimony, analysis, and advocacy, from a variety of perspectives. This volume raises striking questions about women's changing roles."
andquot;An interesting and well-written collection of essays on fatherhood in the academy. The authors' candid revelations about their desires for family, for work, for themselves, and how these are realized, modified, or sacrificed highlights how men are also influenced by social norms, institutional constraints, and the interpersonal relationships of family life.andquot;
andquot;Do Babies Matter? provides a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between gender, family formation, and academic careers. A major strength of this book is that it brings together several important lines of research on work and family in academia.andquot;
andquot;Do Babies Matter? argues that the most important factor impeding womenandrsquo;s careers in STEM, and the academy more generally, is the difficulty women face in balancing work and family. An excellent resource for women faculty and graduate students and would work well as a text in a course on gender and work. It would also serve as an excellent primer for university department chairs and administrators on the problems faced by faculty mothers and on the solutions that might make our institutions more family friendly.andquot;
Academic Motherhood tells the story of one hundred women who are both professors and mothers and how they navigated their professional lives at different career stages. It is based on a longitudinal study that asks how women faculty on the tenure track manage work and family in their early careers when their children are under the age of five, and again in mid-career when their children are older. Policy recommendations that support faculty with children and mechanisms for problem-solving at personal, departmental, institutional, and national levels are provided.
Academic Motherhood tells the story of over one hundred women who are both professors and mothers and examines how they navigated their professional lives at different career stages. Kelly Ward and Lisa Wolf-Wendel base their findings on a longitudinal study that asks how women faculty on the tenure track manage work and family in their early careers (pre-tenure) when their children are young (under the age of five), and then again in mid-career (post-tenure) when their children are older. The women studied work in a range of institutional settings—research universities, comprehensive universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges—and in a variety of disciplines, including the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences.
Much of the existing literature on balancing work and family presents a pessimistic view and offers cautionary tales of what to avoid and how to avoid it. In contrast, the goal of Academic Motherhood is to help tenure track faculty and the institutions at which they are employed “make it work.” Writing for administrators, prospective and current faculty as well as scholars, Ward and Wolf-Wendel bring an element of hope and optimism to the topic of work and family in academe. They provide insight and policy recommendations that support faculty with children and offer mechanisms for problem-solving at personal, departmental, institutional, and national levels.
Do Babies Matter? is the first comprehensive examination of the relationship between family formation and the academic careers of men and women. The book draws on over a decade of research using unprecedented data resources, including the Survey of Doctorate Recipients, a nationally representative panel survey of PhDs in America, and multiple surveys of faculty and graduate students at the ten-campus University of California system.
The new generation of scholars differs in many ways from its predecessor of just a few decades ago. Academia once consisted largely of men in traditional single-earner families. Today, men and women fill the doctoral student ranks in nearly equal numbers and most will experience both the benefits and challenges of living in dual-income households. This generation also has new expectations and values, notably the desire for flexibility and balance between careers and other life goals. However, changes to the structure and culture of academia have not kept pace with young scholarsandrsquo; desires for work-family balance.
Do Babies Matter? is the first comprehensive examination of the relationship between family formation and the academic careers of men and women. The book begins with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, moves on to early and mid-career years, and ends with retirement. Individual chapters examine graduate school, how recent PhD recipients get into the academic game, the tenure process, and life after tenure. The authors explore the family sacrifices women often have to make to get ahead in academia and consider how gender and family interact to affect promotion to full professor, salaries, and retirement. Concrete strategies are suggested for transforming the university into a family-friendly environment at every career stage.
The book draws on over a decade of research using unprecedented data resources, including the Survey of Doctorate Recipients, a nationally representative panel survey of PhDs in America, and multiple surveys of faculty and graduate students at the ten-campus University of California system..
It is not easy raising a family and balancing work and personal commitments in academia, regardless of gender. The diverse contributors in Papa, PhD seek to expand their children's horizons, giving them the gifts of better topic sentences and a cosmopolitan sensibility. They consider the implications of gender theory and queer theory-even Marxist theory-and make relevant theoretical connections between their work and the less abstract, more pragmatic, world of fathering. What resonates is the astonishing range of forms that fatherhood can take as these dads challenge traditional norms by actively questioning the status quo.
About the Author
MARY ANN MASON is Professor of the Graduate School and Faculty Codirector of the Berkeley Law Earl Warren Institute for Law and Social Policy at the University of California atand#160;Berkeley. She is the author of Mothers on the Fast Track: How the New Generation Can Balance Career and Family and coeditor of All Our Families: New Policies for the New Century, Second Edition.
NICHOLAS H. WOLFINGER is an associate professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies and an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Utah. He is the author of Understanding the Divorce Cycle, and coeditor of Fragile Families and the Marriage Agenda.
MARC GOULDEN is the director of data initiatives at the University of California at Berkeley.
Table of Contents
1. Motherhood and an Academic Career: A Negotiable Road
2. Origins of the Study
3. Understanding the Existing Narratives and Counternarratives
4. Managing Work and Family in the Early Career
5. Mid-Career Perspectives on Work and Family
6. The Role of Disciplinary and Departmental Contexts
7. Institutional Type Differences
8. Social Capital and Dual Careers
9. Leaving the Tenure Track
10. Policy Perspectives
11. Conclusions, Recommendations, and Parting Thoughts