By Samantha Knowles
Working and Motherhood is a tough combination if not managed correctly. I know- I have done it myself for more than 20 years. There are days I love it, and days I really would like to just do one of these very important jobs, but not both. How do I get through it? I just do. How do other working mothers, I suppose the same.
Even though 45 percent of undergraduate mathematics degrees now go to women, women make up less than 12 percent of full professors in such math-intensive fields as physics, engineering and computer science. Why are women bailing on these academic careers?One main reason is that motherhood pulls them away, according to Wendy M. Williams, PhD, and Stephen Ceci, PhD, professors in Cornell University’s department of human development (and the married parents of three daughters).In a paper published in March in American Scientist, Williams and Ceci analyzed data on women’s abilities and career preferences, as well as hiring, promotion and evaluations at U.S. universities.They found that–despite what conventional wisdom might suggest–women rarely suffer from overt discrimination in hiring, promotion and funding. In fact, the opposite might be true: Only 20 percent of applicants for tenure-track math professorships are women, but 32 percent of those offered positions are.
Motherhood confers upon a woman the responsibility of raising a child. This process also changes the way in which she is perceived in society and at her workplace. It can necessitate her to take more than available leave options, and job security can be at risk. Significant social and personal adjustments are necessary to cope with such a situation. A working mother, especially one who has the good fortune to be able to balance her home and work, enjoys the stimulation that a job or career provides. She develops the ability of raising a useful member of society and at the same time gains financial independence. Along with motherhood, work adds to the completeness of being a woman.
What we have learned from this is that being a working mother can be a really great thing- something to aspire to be, and something to really be proud of. I know that when I look at my kids and they see me doing something bigger than myself I am very proud. It is wonderful to show them that they can be anything they want to be in life, there are no opportunities too big.
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