Does Academe Hinder Parenthood?

Anyone have observations, experience, or additional research to address the question raised by the Does Academe Hinder Parenthood?  The Inside Higher Ed piece begins:

Numerous reports and accounts suggest that balancing parenthood and academic careers can be difficult, particularly for women. Two new studies suggest that, possibly as a result, many female academics may be opting not to have kids.

Comment:  While a student at Grove City College, I enjoyed getting to know several faculty kids in my classes AND to see another side of my professors when I visited their homes.  My wife and I even had the opportunity to spend our first several months of marriage on the third floor of an English professor’s house (Note: female, married, three children with youngest in college). Twelve years later, I keep in touch with almost all of my Grove City College faculty mentors (which I confess were mostly men) and the faculty kids with whom I went to college.  A truly formative experience of seeing/experiencing and being mentored by families.  Hoping this experience isn’t too unique among liberal arts colleges with Christian roots as I suspect it to be and good to observe that Grove City College has continued to hire more female faculty.

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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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3 Comments

  • navel@rocketmail.com'
    sobersnail commented on November 11, 2008 Reply

    I’d be interested in comparing the stats from this article (colleges and universities in general) with stats from explicitly Christian institutions.

    Do conservative Christian schools have policies such as spousal hiring resources, paid parental leave, and the ability to stop the tenure clock at the birth of a child? If not, they shouldn’t be surprised if they either:
    –have fewer female faculty with children; or
    –have fewer female faculty altogether.

    I’m married to an academic, with one child; we’re both on the market this year and are dealing with this very issue.

  • jws02b@acu.edu'
    Jennifer Shewmaker commented on November 24, 2008 Reply

    I am a married female with three young children and just became a tenured associate professor at a Christian university this year. So, while it’s possible, I still feel that I face challenges that my male colleagues don’t face. For example, I did have to stop the clock on the tenure process after my third child was born, and was actually chided for doing this by a male colleague. While I think my university is generally very family friendly, it historically has done this through the welcoming and encouraging of faculty wives. The female faculty who are my age are struggling with balancing their lives just as I am, so days you win and some you lose. However, my husband and I are both committed to making our family our top priority above career, and I think that helps us put things into perspective.

  • Tom Grosh commented on November 26, 2008 Reply

    Dear Jennifer, Thank-you for sharing. In Christ, Tom

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