Getting tenure first

For women who want to have children, an academic career in a tenured position can seem unfairly problematic.  One approach to the problem is to hold off trying to have children until you have gotten tenure.  The alternative of late motherhood is explored in Elizabeth Gregory’s new book,  Ready:  Why Women Are Embracing the New Later Motherhood, which is based on interviews with over 100 moms who chose this option. Using both anecdotal and statistical evidence, Gregory delivers what may be unexpectedly good news about later motherhood, which lists as:

-Stronger family focus: Having achieved many of their personal and career goals, new later moms feel ready to focus on family rather than trying to juggle priorities
-More financial power: New later moms have established careers and make higher salaries
-Greater self-confidence: New later moms have more career experience, and their management skills translate directly into managing a household and advocating for their children
-More stable single-parenting: New later moms who are single have more resources
-High marriage rate: On average, 85 percent of new later moms are married, lending stability to the family structure
-Longer lives: Evidence indicates that new later moms actually live longer than moms who start their families earlier

( Gregory’s blog lists another advantage that applies to lesbians.) 

The downsides of waiting are all too familiar; the advantages can now be considered too.
You might also want to look at Gregory on the Huffington Post here and here.  A review is here

(Required disclosure: the author is a friend of mine.)

One thought on “Getting tenure first

  1. Sorry to harp on the downsides, but looking at the last post on tenure and pregnancy, it seems that almost all the women who got tenure with kids had them first. Even if you start graduate school young (say 22) you may end up with a long tenure clock (8-9 years is possible) and waiting until you are 35+ has obvious risks (especially if you want more than one kid). Of course, with rampant gender discrimination you’re not likely to get tenure anyway, and not everyone gets married young…

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