June 14, 2008

Shame about being a mother and an academic

A recent pseudonymous article in The Chronicle of Higher Education brings to light a theme that I've heard from academic mothers in the Writing Club. They struggle with a feeling of shame, starting in graduate school, when they have to "admit" that they are parents. This feeling of shame is not necessarily brought on by the particular person or situation that they are dealing with at the moment, but by the attitude that they feel is rampant in academia, towards any non-scholarly activity in academia. For example, one person wrote, "I once APOLOGIZED to my advisor (when I had my first child) for being a mom in academia."

This gets back to the theme I've been writing about lately; that of finding balance in academia. If the appropriate amount of balance existed, then it should be possible for half of the human race to participate equally in academia while raising a family. While not feeling ashamed.


At 12:37 PM, Blogger Pseudo-Supermum said...

I don't feel ashamed for being a mum in academia - but I do feel torn. I have to put the family first, and I can't just apply for jobs wherever they come up. That results in my having already mentally resigned myself to hanging onto the day-job and hoping to find odd "extra" lecturing opportunities rather than try to change career at the age of 50. According to UK legislation, my applications can't be age-discriminated. However, my commonsense tells me that someone young and zippy is more likely to get any job that comes up.


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