Exploring Organizational Structures for Women in Academe: A Feminist Exploration of Career and Care

2019-06-10T20:30:33Z (GMT) by Ashton M. Mouton
In 2008, Women’s Studies in Communication released a special issue entitled “Conversations and Commentary on Redefining the Professor(iate): Valuing Commitments to Care and Career in Academe” where the authors discussed how a lack of support for multiple and competing roles related to care and career responsibilities negatively impacted the careers of women faculty members. Today, women faculty members still experience more challenges associated with advancement, tenure, and promotion compared to their male counterparts and are also more likely to leave academia as leaks in the pipeline. Previous research has demonstrated that these challenges are due to organizational barriers rather than individual choices and abilities (McMurtrie, 2013; Slaughter, 2012). As such, this study employs two theoretical frameworks to explore career challenges in more detail: structuration theory (Giddens 1979; 1984) and feminist intersectional theory (Crenshaw, 1988; 1989/1993; 1991). Coupled together, structuration theory and feminist intersectional theory enable the researcher to understand what structures enable and constrain tenure/promotion and care needs/responsibilities and to be critical of those structures and who they privilege along the way. Semi-structured interviews (n=49), in combination with document collection (n=433) and logging, were used to assess the organizational structure and the movement of participants through the structure. Analysis of the documents and interviews illustrate rules and resources that both enable and constrain tenure, promotion, and care work for female faculty.