When I was on the market I wanted a tenure-track job at a research institution. But I also feared, given that I had three children, and given the demands on research and teaching, that I might not be able to function effectively (Mother, first-year assistant professor, Research I University). I'm speaking as somewone who has tried to make it at a research university where the expectations are rather intense. The extent to which the structures are just not set up in ways that allow us to be really involved as caregivers. I am troubled by that (Mother, assistant professor, up for tenure, Research I University).
Do women and men who have children during gradute school have access to the same institutional resources as non-parents? In the face of two gredy institutions, the academy and parenthood (especially motherhood), do they employ the same sorts of strategies in their quest to attain tenure-track jobs, and are those strategies successful? In this study we use a longitudinal survey of sociology Ph.D.s to investigate the availability and use of three types of resources and strategies during graduate school, and find that they all have important effects on the chances of obtaining a tenure-track position at a research or doctoral university. We find that someinstitutional resources are not equallydistributed in graduate school, with mother's least likely to obtain them, but are significant for attainment of tenure-track positions.Resource-based strategies, including presenting papers and publishing articles while in graduate school, have a positive and significant effect on all groups' attainment of tenure-track positions.Family-based strategies such as child-spacing strategies are also significant; women who have children during graduate school have lower odds of immediately obtaining tenure-track jobs at research and doctoral universities, although access to resources and the ability to use these resources helps significantly.
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Ivy Kennelly is assistant professor of Sociology at George Washington University, where she teaches courses in theory and the sociology of race, class, and gender. In her most recent work she takes on the “intersection” approach favored by inequality scholars, posing new metaphors to inspire the field.
A major focus of the Department is the analysis of the scientific labor market and the status of women, historical minorities, and new immigrants in the physical, biological, and social science disciplines. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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Kennelly, I., Spalter-Roth, R.M. Parents on the job market: Resources and strategies that help sociologists attain tenure-track jobs. Am Soc 37, 29–49 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02915066