Kmec, J. (2013a). Why academic STEM mothers feel they have to work harder than others on the job. International Journal of Gender, Science, & Technology, 5(2), 80-101.
- This report analyzed faculty members’ perceptions of how hard they have to work at their job based on their sex and parental status, specifically in the context of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines that are typically characterized by a masculine work culture. The objective was to contribute to the knowledge base on gender issues in academic professions and the specific challenges that working mothers in STEM fields face.
- The study used data from the 2011 Faculty Caregiving and Workplace and Culture survey administered online to about 300 tenure-line faculty members in all disciplines at a large public U.S. university. The author conducted regression analyses to estimate the link between faculty members’ sex, parental status, academic discipline, and their level of agreement with the statement, “My job requires me to work very hard.” The regression controlled for several factors that might affect faculty members’ perceptions of how hard they have to work at their job, such as length of time at current institution, academic rank, perceived job demand levels, feelings of being valued, marital status, age of children, household/family responsibilities, and degree to which household responsibilities are perceived to affect job performance.
- The study found that mothers in STEM fields were more likely to strongly agree that they have to work very hard at their job, compared to fathers in both STEM and non-STEM fields and mothers in non-STEM fields, after controlling for a number of factors related to perceptions of effort required. Specifically, fathers in STEM and non-STEM fields were 84 percent and 92 percent less likely, respectively, to strongly agree that they have to work very hard at their job than mothers in STEM fields. Similarly, mothers in non-STEM fields were about 81 percent less likely than mothers in STEM fields to agree that they have to work very hard at their job.
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