It's "like walking on broken glass": Pan-Canadian reflections on work-family conflict from psychology women faculty and graduate students

McCutcheon, J. M. and M. A. Morrison (2018). "It's "like walking on broken glass": Pan-Canadian reflections on work-family conflict from psychology women faculty and graduate students." Feminism & Psychology 28(2): 231-252.

Studies on work-family conflict amongst university faculty members indicate that women experience significantly more conflict in balancing their dual roles than their male counterparts. Research suggests that female faculty may be disadvantaged because of the norms structuring academic environments, which seemingly accommodate the life courses of men. Interestingly, the experience of work-family conflict for graduate students, who are besieged by many of the same environmental forces as female faculty, has been largely ignored within the scholarly literature. In the present study, qualitative responses regarding work-family conflict from 65 academic women (32 faculty; 33 graduate students) from universities and colleges across Canada were submitted to thematic analysis. Results revealed three interconnected themes: masculine workplace norms, the need to choose between work and family, and consequences of work-family conflict. The findings point to the need for academic institutions to critically examine their cultures surrounding motherhood in an effort to provide hospitable environments for faculty and graduate students who are, or who will become, parents.

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