Crossing Borders: Work-Family Balance Among Women Faculty at a Texas University




Mason, Melissa F.

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The difficult balance between work and family has been investigated in previous research. Most of this scholarship has focused on women, and some attention has been given to the gendered character of academic workplaces. Supported by a National Science Foundation ADVANCE Catalyst grant, this study proposes to examine women faculty's efforts to achieve work-family balance at a Texas university that is a rising research institution. This proposed study includes a diverse sample of women faculty in natural science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, the social and behavioral sciences (SBS), and humanities disciplines. Qualitative interviews (N = 20) are used to explore women's narratives of work-family balance, as well as circumstances perceived to produce positive and negative spillovers across these two institutional domains. Using insights from work-family border theory, the data reveal the bidirectional nature of spillovers from work to family and, conversely, from family to work along with women faculty's efforts to manage these spillovers. The study concludes by specifying implications, policy recommendations, and directions for future research then delineated.


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Gender, Higher- Education, Spillover, STEM, Work-family Balance, Work-Family Border Theory