Browsing College of Education by Subject "Working mothers."
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Juggling Toddlers, Teens, and Tenure: The Personal and Professional Realities of Women on the Tenure Track with ChildrenThe purpose of this study was to understand the personal and professional experiences of women faculty on the tenure track with children. Despite more than 30 years of conversation about gender equity since the passage of Title IX as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, an inverse relationship persists between the prestige of an academic rank and the percentage of women in that rank. Recent research has drawn attention to differences in marital and family status between men and women faculty in higher education, suggesting that childrearing may serve as an impediment to the career advancement of women faculty in higher education. Discovering and understanding the lived experiences of women on the tenure track with children is critical to the recruitment and retention of talented women faculty. Utilizing a qualitative phenomenological approach, this study examined the unique stories of eight purposefully selected women faculty with children under the age of 18. Participants were selected from three Midwestern universities. Participant demographics varied by institutional type, academic rank, academic field, relationship status, age of children, and ethnicity/nationality. An analysis of the experiences of the participants in this study yielded five themes: enjoying it all…with some compromises, departmental support, sharing 50/50 at home, outside support systems, and challenges. This study recognized challenges for mothers in academia, but emphasized that mothers can be both successful and happy in the academy. The findings of this study serve as an encouragement to women who desire motherhood and a career in academia. Though some personal and professional decisions of academic mothers may need to be purposeful, the academy potentially offers a positive environment for balancing career and family. Because of the challenges faced by the participants in this study, the findings may also be used to influence institutional and departmental policies related to work and family.