As a follow-up to the article, there was a Q&A with the director; I particularly appreciated this exchange:
Question from Gretal Leibnitz, Ph.D. LMP., Washington State University:
As a woman who waited to marry and have a family until I completed my Ph.D., and now a married mother of 2 (4 years & 11 mo.), I recognize that I CHOSE to have children. Inherent in the early aspect of starting and rearing family are implications that I knew would only effect me and not my husband-- (ie. female specific implications of pregnancy, birth, lactation). Is it appropriate to ask for the institutions of higher education to offer special accomodation for a choice I made? Is this fair to those women who choose not to have children (or men who do not bear children)? Is there room for "seperate but equal" tracts of promotion for women in academia who choose to bear children from those that do not?
Mary Ann Mason:
I would look at it this way. Currently, women comprise around 44% of the doctoral degree recipients and 45% of professional degree recipients in the United States. In 1966, they comprised 12% of the doctoral degree recipients and 5% of the professional degree recipients -- a sea change in just over 30 years. Women are now the majority of Masters and Baccalaureate degree recipients in the U.S. and in the future it is reasonable to expect that they will comprise the majority of Doctoral and Professional degree recipients. Hence, the future best and brightest of the professoriate will be increasingly drawn from the ranks of women. It is, therefore, paramount for institutions of higher education that would like to maintain their excellence to develop policies that will attract women who would like to enjoy both a successful career and family life. Institutions that ignore this fundamental demographic shift and fail to develop appropriate policies will do so to the detriment of their own competitive advantage in attracting future faculty.
Overall, the American workplace has done little to accommodate the fact that the great majority of mothers are now in the workplace. An overall re-structuring of the workplace to accommodate families is necessary to make the best use of all workers.
Mary Ann Mason: We do not know the number of hours per week needed to successfully obtain tenure but we do know that academics work a great deal. In our UC study of ladder-rank faculty, women with children worked on average 53 hour per week on career activities; men with children, 56 hours, women without children 59 hours per week, and men without children 58 hours a week. If you total the hours worked per week in terms of career, caregiving, and household responsibilities, women with children worked a staggering 94 hours per week. In contrast, men with children worked 82 hours a week in total, women without children worked 80 hours per week, and men without children 77 hours per week. So everybody is very busy, but women with children are the most busyand the hours they can devote to their career takes a hit. I should note that Jerry Jacobs of the University of Pennsylvania is doing some exciting work in this area, so you should definitely look up his work.