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Do Babies Matter?

Do Babies Matter?: Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower

Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 188
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  • Book Info
    Do Babies Matter?
    Book Description:

    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 scholars' 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..

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-6082-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. ii-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. ix-ix)
    (pp. xi-xiii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-7)

    Today, women receive slightly more than half the doctoral degrees granted in the United States.¹ With women and men now feeding the academic pipeline in equal numbers, is it just a matter of time before we see gender parity in the professoriate? Regrettably, the answer is no. In two important measures of gender equality, the representation of women in academe and the family characteristics of women who do become professors, we see a serious imbalance. Put simply, there are far fewer women than men at the top of the academic ladder, and these women are much less likely to be...

  6. 1 The Graduate School Years: New Demographics, Old Thinking
    (pp. 8-25)

    The graduate student and postdoc years are the proving ground for future academics. Many students enter with clear plans to become professors, but end up changing their minds. There are many reasons to reject an academic career, but family considerations—marriage and children—are most prominent for women and a serious concern for men as well. How concerns about family affect these young scholars’ decisions is complex. Some students lack the role models that might otherwise demonstrate that work-family balance is possible in academia. For others, encountering intense professional hostility after having a baby weakens their commitment to an academic...

  7. 2 Getting into the Game
    (pp. 26-45)

    Perhaps the most important turning point in a young scholar’s life is the decision to pursue employment after graduate school. Given that the average doctoral student takes eight years to finish, this decision is a long time coming.¹ As we saw in the previous chapter, many doctoral students, women more often than men, decide during their student years that a research professor’s life is not for them. Both men and women worry about having balanced lives in the academy, but for women, concern about combining a family with the demanding life of a tenure-track professorship is the overriding factor. Nevertheless,...

  8. 3 Capturing the Golden Ring of Tenure
    (pp. 46-58)

    On February 12, 2010, a forty-two-year-old biology professor walked into a faculty meeting at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Amy Bishop, a Harvard-educated mother of four, had that same day been denied an appeal of her negative tenure decision. Drawing a pistol, Bishop shot three of her colleagues dead. Two other faculty members and an assistant were wounded.

    In the days that followed, a strange outburst of empathy for the accused shooter emerged. Despite numerous reports that Bishop had a long history of erratic and violent behavior, many observers chose instead to blame the tenure system. Consider a typical...

  9. 4 Alone in the Ivory Tower
    (pp. 59-82)

    The past two chapters of this book have focused on professional life, most notably, who gets the plum tenure-track positions, and who gets tenure. We have shown that family considerations play a critical role: married women and women with young children are less likely to get tenure-track jobs. Mothers in particular are more likely to move into the second tier of contingent professorships. If they do get tenure-track positions, women in the sciences with young children are less likely to get tenure. For some women, concerns about workfamily balance deter pursuit of an academic career. For others, marriage and young...

  10. 5 Life after Tenure
    (pp. 83-95)

    Securing a tenure-track position represents one of the most profound moments of an academic’s career. After long years as a student, one suddenly becomes a titled professional. Next looms the challenge of a lifetime: getting tenure. On completion of a demanding probationary period, the academic gets a brass ring: one of the world’s most secure jobs. The perquisites of the position are renowned, just as the blood, toil, tears, and sweat it often takes to get there are notorious. Subsequent to tenure comes a measure of security, yet still more hurdles. Scholars aspiring to the rank of full professor must...

  11. 6 Toward a Better Model
    (pp. 96-114)

    This acknowledgment appears in UC Berkeley assistant professor Mark Brilliant’s 2010 book,The Color of America Has Changed: How Racial Diversity Shaped Civil Rights Reform in California, 1941–1978.¹ Rarely, we suspect, do such public tributes to university policies occur. But until recently, it was almost as rare for faculty fathers (and, indeed, most mothers) to take advantage of family-friendly policies. At many universities such policies didn’t even exist. This single accolade does not signal the moment to declare victory in the campaign for family-friendly policies in higher education, but it does indicate progress.

    Higher education needs these policies. The...

  12. APPENDIX: Data and Analysis
    (pp. 115-124)
  13. NOTES
    (pp. 125-150)
    (pp. 151-164)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 165-172)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 173-173)