Nurturing Careers in Psychology: Combining Work and Family

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The academic workplace, with its requirements for achieving tenure within the first 6 years of employment, is designed in ways that discriminate against young faculty with family care responsibilities, most notably mothers. Mason and Goulden (Academe, http://, 2002, Academe, http://, 2004) found that women faculty who have babies within the first 5 years following the receipt of their doctorate are less likely to earn tenure than women without babies or men in general. Women at research-intensive universities are twice as likely as their male colleagues to report that they had fewer children than they wanted. In addition, only one-third of women who begin their academic career at research-intensive institutions without children will become a mother. These inequities, sometimes called the “baby gap” or “motherhood penalty” make academic institutions difficult places for new faculty with family care responsibilities. Suggestions are provided to assist new faculty in successfully combining their work and family roles (e.g., establish gender equity in parenting and negotiate for family-friendly policies) and to senior faculty and administrators who want to nurture the careers of their younger colleagues (e.g., support the use of family-friendly policies on campus).

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