Workplaces Where Childless Women Excel? Academics & Research

college campus

College seems long ago, and in the years since I’ve learned much more about the behind-the-podium machinery and what’s really required to climb the ladder from grad student/teacher to a dean or higher.

As an undergrad, you only get a peek at the layered, highly political world of academia. From numbers of papers published to a social oopsie at a party, every aspect of what a person does, and how, matters.

Do Babies Matter? Gender & Family in the Ivory Tower is a new book based on studies tracking thousands of graduate students through their careers. The big bottom line:

“For men, having children is a career advantage; for women, it is a career killer. And women who do advance through the faculty ranks do so at a high price. They are far less likely to be married with children.”

Co-author Mary Ann Mason goes on to reveal that there are many more women — Moms — working in a growing “second tier” of part-time and adjunct faculty. Obviously, this news doesn’t sound good for women as a whole, and mainly super-smart women who just happen to want a child, too.

As for NotMoms,Ms. Mason says the realities of campus politics reward single, childless women with the first chance at  full-time faculty jobs almost at the same rate as married fathers, at higher rates than wives, mothers or single men.

Is there a niche within the NotMom niche? Women childless-by-academics? Probably.They’re blended in with every woman who delayed or traded childbearing for career advancement.

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4 Responses to “Workplaces Where Childless Women Excel? Academics & Research”

  1. You’re absolutely correct: tenure-track academic women are far less likely to have children than are their male colleagues. Moreover, academics have fewer kids than either doctors or lawyers.

  2. I recognize my alma mater Hampshire College in that photo! This has me thinking about professors I had in school, and whether they were single and childless. I wonder if childless by choice women find something appealing about academia? Though I didn’t ;-)

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