Let the Family in: Braiding Motherhood and Scholarship for Sustainable Academia
Övrigt konferensbidrag, 2024

In Do Babies Matter? Mason et al. draw on comprehensive empirical research to map the negative effects of motherhood (parenthood) on the various stages of academic lives in the US and propose “family-friendly policies in higher education.” Academic productivity is closely linked with job security and possibility for promotion. As Mason et al. note, “The family gap between men and women professors was far larger than the career gap: only one in three women who takes a tenure-track university job before having a child ever becomes a mother, and women who obtain tenure are more than twice as likely as their male colleagues to be single twelve years after earning their Ph.D.” (“Introduction”).

Like many other industries, academia has absorbed and perpetuated the neoliberal postfeminist discourse that parents, mothers in particular, must be solely responsible for both their professional and domestic responsibilities; academic parents often have no meaningful structural support to depend on and no one to blame but themselves for their perceived failure to "have it all." For mothers (parents) the demand to "manage" family life with academic productivity, measured by the number of publications in prestigious journals, often requires detrimental practices like sleep deprivation (writing before the children wake up or after they go to bed).

This relentless pursuit of the continuously accelerating demands of academic productivity (publish or perish) can lead to exhaustion, detachment from oneself and one’s family, burnout, and persistent sense of guilt for prioritizing writing over caring for one’s children or vice versa. However, an increasing number of parents are braiding together the strands of their identities that have, historically, been separated or considered in opposition to one another. Identities, however, that are intrinsically intertwined: inform on the role of parenthood, inevitably build on the scholarship and academic research, and impact the pedagogical practices as educators. They locate some semblance of sustainability in academia while pursuing meaningful and gratifying work as scholar-teacher-parents.


academic productivity


Sindija Franzetti

Chalmers, Vetenskapens kommunikation och lärande, Fackspråk och kommunikation

Alicia Andrzejewski

Christina Katopodis

Destry Maria Sibley

Mothering and Motherhood: Past, Present and Future (International Association of Maternal Action + Scholarship)
Boston, ,



Pedagogiskt arbete


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