Comments on: In which we see once again that academia still functions as though it’s 1956 (only with fewer tenure lines) History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:24:08 +0000 hourly 1 By: FrauTech Tue, 03 May 2011 21:08:52 +0000 @wini: “My male cohort is replicating much of what the older generation (in my field) did. They have stay at home wives. Often very educated stay at home wives who gave up their careers to follow their husbands. (And it is often the case that the woman’s career was as least as promising as her partner’s. ) This is not universal, but common across people I casually know in their 30s. I would even go so far as to say that my male cohort can *imagine* being a parent in a way that my female cohort (lesbians included!) simply cannot.”

This! x1000!

By: Kathie Sat, 30 Apr 2011 23:13:53 +0000 Like Z I was in grad school in the late 1970s and most of the 1980s. I was at a major state university. I had two children before finishing my PhD, and while that probably contributed to me taking a long time to finish, it was less important as a delaying factor than my research, which took me out of the US for two years. A good friend who was a grad student with me in the same history department and same sub-field had a daughter the same year my son was born. Another female friend, also a grad student in the same department and sub-field, had a total of four children, at least two of them born when she was in grad school. Off the top of my head, I can think of two other women in the department (other sub-fields) who also had children in the early 1980s while still in school. All four of my friends have tenured jobs; I was an adjunct for a long time and am now a very productive independent scholar. So, from my perspective, female grad students who were in their twenties and early thirties were having children, being taken seriously, and getting jobs twenty and thirty years ago (my daughter just turned 30 last month). I have to say, I did not recognize the situation as described in this post!

By: Z Sat, 30 Apr 2011 02:35:29 +0000 Oh yes, and one colleague more recently took a year of unpaid leave for maternity; dept. hired VAP.

By: Z Sat, 30 Apr 2011 02:23:03 +0000 I took FMLA at a state institution and got paid for the time because I had accumulated sick leave. When they were figuring this out, they said that if the sick leave didn’t cover it they’d work on finding a way to make disability coverage kick in. That didn’t turn out to be necessary so I don’t know if/how it would have actually worked.

Classes, they did find adjunct money to cover a couple of them. The others just weren’t given that term, which meant students had fewer choices of courses, but these classes were at a level that is never totally full, so it just meant that some others that usually have a few spaces left in them, filled.

By: Janice Fri, 29 Apr 2011 23:30:57 +0000 Wow, Historiann! When I had to miss some teaching time on my one maternity leave (other kid was born in May so mat leave was over summer), the university hired a full-time replacement for my three months of mat leave. It wasn’t the greatest situation since I didn’t want to time-shift my mat leave to a conventional term so my replacement started mid-term in fall and left mid-term in winter. But I still had three months of mat leave and I didn’t have to burden my colleagues even a little bit! Now the standard mat leave is six months. I love Canada!

That said, if you’re in a university where child-bearing is seen as counter-productive or non-serious, you’re in trouble, especially if you’re a woman. I know some women who’ve been counselled not to take the extra year to their tenure application that they can use if they’ve had mat leave because their U will simply expect another year’s worth of productivity. *headdesk*

By: Historiann Fri, 29 Apr 2011 19:29:56 +0000 Mary Anne: In liberal arts colleges, I’ve never heard of temps being hired to cover one’s classes while on leave. Some may do this, but everyone I know (at my uni and at others across the country) had to make their own arrangements with department chairs, deans, and colleagues. All of these arrangements relied on the kindness of colleagues as it was volunteer labor, and that’s exactly the problem.

A friend of mine teaches at a Cal campus, and she got one quarter of leave time for each of her children. That’s the best deal I’ve heard of in the U.S.

And FMLA only guarantees that you can’t be fired if you take UNPAID leave, so it’s not a great solution for most people.

By: Nicole Fri, 29 Apr 2011 19:25:27 +0000 @Mary Anne Mohanraj

FMLA does cover state institutions:

“The law also covers all public agencies (state and local governments) and local education agencies (schools, whether public or private). These employers do not need to meet the “50 employee” test. Title II of FMLA covers most federal employees, who are subject to regulations( issued by the Office of Personnel Management.” From the Department of Labor website:

I was not covered by FMLA because I had not worked at the school for an entire year. (And the week I was out, a librarian taught classes how to use the library one day and a colleague the next.)

By: Mary Anne Mohanraj Fri, 29 Apr 2011 19:00:04 +0000 Historiann, I’m confused. Granted, I only got two weeks of maternity leave at UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago) because it’s a state institution and thus not subject to FMLA. And I’m clinical track, not tenure-track, so my only responsibilities were teaching ones, not service. But my department took care of finding an adjunct to teach my classes while I was on leave, and paid them for their work. Is that not standard practice for handling maternity leave?

For what it’s worth, UIC also offers paternity leave; my (tenured) partner had a semester of leave, in effect, although it wasn’t quite that simple. He teaches 1:2, so I think he had the choice of a semester completely free of teaching, or one teaching half-time; i.e., it was essentially a course release, rather than an actual semester off. And he was still expected to come in for the occasional meeting. But still, it seemed relatively civilized, and was certainly a tremendous help to our family, given that I had to be back in two weeks (plus one week of sick leave, that I chose to take to finish recovering from my c-section). I don’t think he had to find his own replacement for the class he didn’t teach, either — the department just paid for an adjunct.

By: Z Fri, 29 Apr 2011 18:23:27 +0000 …Anyway I think it’s practical to have kids sooner not later if you want. Or, hit ground running, get a bunch o’ stuff out by 4th year review, send off your copyedited book just after that, and have them.

And, I notice that a lot of the younger men have stay at home wives — it’s the new trend, yes.

And, I am fascinated at the idea about how it is WOMEN who shock everyone if they decide to leave academia. Who are betraying it if they find it isn’t a good enough life for them or if they can merely imagine more.

This explains a lot for me since I am in academia out of shame and guilt. When I was going to leave, not because I didn’t like my research field and so on or teaching but because I found something else I wanted to do more, I was told:

- don’t leave because we will define leaving for you as failing, not being able to hack it (threatening, shaming)
- you were allowed to have a PhD in this field and now you owe it to the world to contribute all you can to said field (guilt trip)
- you were allowed to have a PhD, which was already too much, and it is selfish to want even more than that (guilt trip)
- don’t leave us, because we still love you, and we will try to improve the relationship if you just hang on (silencing guilt trip)
- “your new career idea isn’t as good a person and may not be as good a lover as I, academia, am” (condescending, silencing)
- you cannot live without us, you are not competent to survive on your own, you need us (disabling…)

Verily, it is terribly easy to translate all the things I was told into the kinds of things men say to try to talk you out of leaving them. I wish I had thought of this before!

…and a lot more things which, if you rephrase them slightly, really are

By: Z Fri, 29 Apr 2011 18:06:15 +0000 I was in graduate school in the late 70s and a large part of the 80s and some people did have kids. Yes it meant they were sometimes not taken seriously and treated unfairly. But they did it. Then in the later 80s we hired a lot and I was constantly interviewing people; it amazed me to discover that most women candidates not only had kids but volunteered this information.