Do Babies Matter? Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower

DBM-book-coverDo Babies Matter?
Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower

by Mary Ann Mason, Nicholas H. Wolfinger, and Marc Goulden

The new generation of scholars differs in many ways from its predecessor of just a few decades ago. Academia once consisted largely of men in traditional single-earner families. Today, men and women fill the doctoral student ranks in nearly equal numbers and most will experience both the benefits and challenges of living in dual-income households. This generation also has new expectations and values, notably the desire for flexibility and balance between careers and other life goals. However, changes to the structure and culture of academia have not kept pace with young scholars’ desires for work-family balance.

Do Babies Matter? is the first comprehensive examination of the relationship between family formation and the academic careers of men and women. The book begins with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, moves on to early and mid-career years, and ends with retirement. Individual chapters examine graduate school, how recent Ph.D. recipients get into the academic game, the tenure process, and life after tenure. The authors explore the family sacrifices women often have to make to get ahead in academia and consider how gender and family interact to affect promotion to full professor, salaries, and retirement. Concrete strategies are suggested for transforming the university into a family-friendly environment at every career stage.

The book draws on over a decade of research using unprecedented data resources, including the Survey of Doctorate Recipients, a nationally representative panel survey of Ph.D.s in America, and multiple surveys of faculty and graduate students at the ten-campus University of California system.

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“Do Babies Matter is data rich, empirically sound, and full of practical application. The authors’ life course perspective is one that is often missing from research about faculty careers. Their experiences are a welcome addition to what we know about work and family in higher education.” -Kelly Anne Ward, author of Academic Motherhood

“This towering book of extensive empirical analysis gives us an in-depth portrait of academia as a workplace in the United States. Its deft interweaving of clear narrative and complex data makes it invaluable to anyone and everyone working in higher education today.” – Karen V. Hansen, Brandeis University

“Here’s the path-breaking research that convinced the huge University of California system to implement the best package of family friendly policies anywhere. Want to retain women in academia? Read this book.” – Joan Williams, Distinguished Professor and Director, WorkLife Law, University of California, Hastings

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