Lynda Ross & Shauna Wilton

Lynda Ross is a Professor of Women’s and Gender studies, and Chair for the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies at Athabasca University where she also coordinates the undergraduate certificate programme in Counseling Women. She graduated with a doctoral degree in psychology from the University of New Brunswick in 1998. Lynda’s research interests centre on the social construction of theory and ‘disorder,’ attachment, and motherhood.

Shauna Wilton is an Associate Professor of Political Studies at the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta. She has a PhD from the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on the politics of inclusion and exclusion, gender and ethnicity, in Canada and Europe. She has published articles and book chapters on immigration, national identity, gender, media, popular culture, and pedagogy. Her current research focuses on family policy, popular culture, and the politics of mothering.


The scholarly literature on work-family and family-work balance suggests that parents within academia still face significant challenges in achieving an agreeable balance between both spheres. Although all academic parents deal with work-life and work-family challenges, mothers continue to pay a larger penalty for combining an academic career with parenting. The combination of a job that never really stops and the increasing expectations for parents, especially mothers, to be actively involved in every aspect of their child’s/children’s life/lives arguably contributes to difficulties in effectively negotiating both roles. In order to further explore those factors impinging upon work-family and family-work balance, semi-structured interviews were conducted with male and female faculty (N=21) all of whom were parents and working at a small liberal arts university campus in Canada. The primary focus of our analysis and discussion is on the impact of the persistence of women’s role as primary caregiver and the gendered nature of the academic culture on work-family and family-work balance.

Gendered roles, gendered jobs:Challenges Facing Parents With/in Academia

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