ERG SES H 10, Gender and Education
In the Spring of 2014, I conducted an intensive qualitative dissertation study examining the phenomenon of doctor student motherhood to support recruitment, retention, and equity for women in academe (CohenMiller, 2014). In the United States as well as in Europe, there is a growing number of women entering academic fields, yet not moving into full academic positions. According to the European Commission on She Figures-Gender in Research and Innovation (2012), “women represented only 44% of grade C academic staff, 37% of grade B academic staff and 20% of grade A academic staff” (p. 6). Furthermore, additional reports indicate the consistent lower pay for women in academe in the UK and throughout Europe (Catalyst, .
Now, approximately two years later, this current study reconnects with the mother-scholars to establish a longitudinal understanding of the trajectory of doctoral student mothers as they move throughout their doctoral program and into their future careers. The study seeks to examine experiences as a part of understanding why women/mother-scholars (Lapayese, 2012) are falling through the cracks in the academic pipeline despite an increase in enrollment and employment. Unique to this work is the longitudinal nature of examining academic motherhood and an integration of arts-based methods (Leavy, 2009) to promote a larger audience for dissemination of the findings. While there are a growing number of research reports studying academic mothers, such as seminal pieces by Evans and Grant (2008) and Mason, Goulden, and Wolfinger, (2006), this study adds an important component by following the mother-scholars as they culminate their academic graduate studies and move on with their journey.
The objectives of this study are twofold: (1) to uncover the experiences of mother-scholars along the academic pipeline to help illuminate reasons for the forward movement (or lack thereof) throughout academe and (2) to reveal potential support systems that could be development/refined within departments and institutions. To that end, using sociocultural theory as guided by Holland, Skinner, Lachiocotte, and Cain (1998), the study centers on the research questions: (A) what are the experiences of mother-scholars as they move from doctoral study into future careers? (B) what support systems can be developed/refined within departments and institutions to support recruitment, retention, and equity for women/mother-scholars in academe?
CohenMiller, A. S. (2014). The phenomenon of doctoral student motherhood/mothering in academe: Cultural construction, presentation of self, and situated learning. (PhD Dissertation), University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX. Baker, S. (2013). Conceptualising the use of Facebook in ethnographic research: As tool, as data and as context. Ethnography and Education. 8(2), pp. 131-145. Denzin, N. K. (1997). Interpretive ethnography: Ethnographic practices for the 21st century. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. European Commission. She figures: Gender in research and innovation: Statistics and indicators. Luxemburg: European Union, 2012. Print. Evans, E., & Grant, C. (2008). Mama PhD: Women write about motherhood and academic life. Piscataway: Rutgers University Press. Harper, K. (2009) New directions in participatory visual ethnography: Possibilities for public anthropology. Presented at American Anthropological Association meetings, Philadelphia, PA. Hesse-Biber, S. & Leavy, P. (Eds.). (2006). Emergent methods in social research. London: Sage Publications. Holland, D., William L., Jr., Skinner, D., & Cain, C. (1998). Identity and agency in cultural worlds. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Leavy, Patricia. (2009). Method meets art: Arts-based research practice. New York: Guilford Press. Mason, M. A., Goulden, M., & Wolfinger, N. H. (2006). Babies matter: Pushing the gender equity revolution forward. In S. J. Bracken, J. K. Allen & D. R. Dean (Eds.), The balancing act: Gendered perspectives in faculty roles and work lives (pp. 9-29). Sterling, VA: Stylus. Lapayese, Y. V. (2012). Mother-scholar: (Re)imagining K-12 education. The Netherlands: Sense Publishers. Wolfinger, N. H., Mason, M. A., & Goulden, M. (2008). Problems in the pipeline: Gender, marriage, and fertility in the ivory tower. The Journal of Higher Education, 79(4), 388-405. doi: 10.2307/25144681
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