Graduate Student Motherhood: How Female Ph.D. Students Resist and Perform Idealized Norms of Work and Mothering
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The current lack of women in tenured academic positions has been recently attributed to issues of gender discrimination, maternal discrimination, and work-family conflict for women. Survey research shows that women who have children in graduate school have negative tenure-track outcomes when compared to men. Utilizing a qualitative case study method with a poststructuralist theoretical framework, this study interviewed, observed, and collected documents from seven graduate student mothers. This dissertation is presented as two independent articles that draw upon aspects of a common data set. The first article investigates the work and mothering identity performances of three mothers who desired academic careers. The second article focuses on four mothers who sought "alternative" careers outside academia. This study found that all seven mothers resisted, enacted, internalized, and self-policed conflicting norms related to work and mothering. Results additionally revealed that the mothers were empowered and disempowered by their multiple statuses. Finally, mothers' identity performances were often shaped by the location of women in dual career partnerships. This research has implications for future research and doctoral education practice.
- Education - Seattle