Balancing Motherhood Experiences and Academic Science: What Makes Some Women Persist in Their Professions?
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Women both enter and leave science fields in numbers disproportionate to men (Long, Valian). Although many researchers have studied the reasons women leave the workplace in general, and STEM professions specifically, particularly after motherhood (Mason, Williams), there has been little work completed on why women stay in academic science once they become mothers. This paper employs two methods of interpreting published essays written by mothers who are also successful academic scientists. This research spotlights women who both wish to pursue motherhood and opted to stay in successful careers in academic science, despite what is the well-documented discrimination mothers face in the workplace (Mason, “Do Babies Matter?”). The central research question is: with what do women who are mothers associate their success in academic science in terms of resources, supports, and lifestyle? This study indicates balancing parenting and working as scientists is plausible for those who have strong personal support systems.