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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.504 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2012001669
pages 135-152

MULTIPLE ROLES, MULTIPLE BURDENS: THE EXPERIENCES OF FEMALE SCIENTISTS WITH CHILDREN

Margaret W. Sallee
Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York 14260
Amanda Blakewood Pascale
Office of Admissions, Enrollment Services, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida 32224

ABSTRACT

This qualitative case study of faculty at one research institution examined the factors that shape female scientists' ability to balance motherhood and their careers. Using role strain as a theoretical lens, the results indicated that participants assumed a variety of roles that frequently came into conflict with one another. In particular, female scientists' ability to balance competing demands was shaped by the nature of the academic work in the sciences, departmental colleagues, and features of home life. While on the surface policies and people supported participants who were balancing work and family, the underlying norms suggested that faculty should prioritize work over family. The article concludes with suggestions of ways institutions might create a culture that supports female scientists in balancing their work and home demands.


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