Academic couples, parenthood and women’s research careers

The paper focuses on dual-career academic couples, how they combine careers and parenthood and how their strategies translate into employment pathways of researchers, and especially women researchers. Based on sixteen in-depth interviews with dual-career academic couples, the analysis identified two types of partnerships which differed in terms of how they combined work and parenthood and how they harmonized his and her career: ‘traditional couples’ and ‘egalitarian couples’. While most previous research on dual-career couples analyses the individual level, this investigation considers the couple as a point of departure. The analysis is framed by the linked-lives approach, which studies partners’ work paths as mutually interrelated. The analysis shows that in dual-career academic couples, women’s careers are often perceived to be secondary to men’s careers, but there were differences between women who built their careers before 1989 and contemporary young women researchers. It is argued that gender ideologies have different effects depending on the institutional conditions in which the ideologies are enacted. It is suggested that the paper contributes an important dimension to explanations of the gap in the position of men and women in the academic labor market.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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