Academic, woman, mother: negotiating multiple subjectivities during early career

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    The dominant definition of “early career” in academia is a normative one. Typically five years post-PhD, the early career academic (ECA) moves from post-doctoral, tenure track or Level A to Assistant Professor, Level B, Reader and onwards. This assumes steady employment and continuous research and professional development, and does not reflect the lived experience of many ECAs. Academic work, especially during the career development phase, is excessive and frequently performed outside work hours. For women, intensifiers include unacknowledged work or academic “housework,” high teaching and administrative loads, and under-representation at senior levels (Grant and Knowles 2000; Probert 2005). When motherhood and early career intersect, the challenges of research and career development are further intensified. This chapter explores ECA motherhood in two ways. First, it presents an authoethnographic account of mothering an ill child during PhD, and coping with secondary infertility and ectopic pregnancy as an ECA. Second, it examines survey data from Australian women ECAs with caring responsibility for children.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationBeing an early career feminist academic
    Subtitle of host publicationglobal perspectives, experiences, and challenges
    EditorsRachel Thwaites, Amy Pressland
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    Number of pages19
    ISBN (Electronic)9781137543257
    ISBN (Print)9781137543240
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Publication series

    NamePalgrave studies in gender and education
    ISSN (Print)2524-6445
    ISSN (Electronic)2524-6453


    • Academic Work
    • Early Career
    • Ectopic Pregnancy
    • Emotional Labour
    • Research Output


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