The Timing of Motherhood While Earning a PhD in Engineering

Paksi, Veronika, Nagy, Beáta and Király, Gábor (2016) The Timing of Motherhood While Earning a PhD in Engineering. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 2016 (11). pp. 285-304.

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In spite of tremendous efforts, women are still under-represented in the field of science. Post-graduate education and early tenure track employment are part of the academic career establish-ment in research and development during periods that usually overlap with family formation. Though women tend to leave science mainly after obtaining their PhD, and the timing of mother-hood plays a vital role in a successful research career, qualitative data on this life period are scarce. Our paper focuses on how the normative and institutional contexts shape female PhD engineering students’ family plans. The research was based on intersections of life course and risk and uncertainty theories. Using qualitative interviews we explored how contradicting social norms of childbearing cause tensions in postgraduate students’ lives, and how the different uncer-tainties and risks permeate young researchers’ decisions on early life events. We concluded that, despite the general pattern of delaying motherhood among higher educated women, these students struggle against this postponement, and they hardly have any good options to avoid risk stem-ming from uncertainties and from some characteris-tics of studying and working in engineering. Find-ings of this research may call the attention of stake-holders to possible intervention points.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:PhD, timing of motherhood childbear-ing, women, uncertainty, life course, engineering
Divisions:Faculty of Social Sciences > Institute for Sociology and Social Studies
Projects:OTKA K104707
ID Code:2478
Deposited By: MTMT SWORD
Deposited On:03 Oct 2016 10:52
Last Modified:03 Oct 2016 10:52

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