Alt-Ac Work and Gender:
It’s not Plan B
#mla14 #s757

@wynkenhimself, @m_steph_m, @amandafrench
http://bit.ly/altacgender
15%
employed in #altac
searching for #altac
neither

13%

72%
@wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
employed in or searching for #altac work
(53 responses)
children

gender

male
21%

2 or 3
15%
female
79%

@wynkenhimself ...
not employed in nor searching for
#altac work (8 responses)
gender

children

male
13%

0
38%
female
87%

@wynkenhimself #...
“Did gender impact your decision to do
or to seek #altac work?”

yes
19%
no
47%
it's
complicated
34%

@wynkenhimself #mla1...
female #altac, ABD, no kids
“One of my reasons for pursuing #altac work
rather than the tenure track was wanting the
flex...
male #altac, one child
“My partner was pregnant (and completing her
own graduate studies) when I was finishing my
PhD. We...
female #altac, 2 kids

“My spouse didn't want to relocate when I was
looking for TT work (he had a high-paying job and I
...
female searching for #altac

“I have three young children and a husband who
would prefer I fulfill more traditional femal...
female #altac, Master’s degree, one kid
“I wouldn't say that my gender limited the work I
could do but because I was a si...
female #altac
“I think gender was a factor in my dissatisfaction
with my previous job/employer. Lots of service
demands w...
female #altac (STEM)
“Part of my work is in gender and racial equity in
academia and I felt that I could have more of an
...
female #altac (STEM) cont’d.
“… Another consideration was that as a woman of
color (intersectionality alert!) given the
d...
female #altac
“In high school and as an undergraduate, I
envisioned a career that would now be called altac, but was pers...
female #altac

“… Luckily for me, I broke free of this pressure
towards the end of writing my dissertation. My PhD
defense...
“Are there gender-related issues that
impact your ability to do your work?”

no
39%

yes
34%

it's
complicated
27%
@wynken...
male #altac

“My profession is considered women's work.
Consequently it is paid far lower than other work in
City Governm...
female #altac with PhD
“My research and alt-ac work is treated as
subsidiary to my male colleagues (e.g. my projects
are ...
female #altac

“It's sometimes hard to know for sure, but I feel like
I get judged differently for having strong opinions...
female #altac with PhD
“As a librarian, I'm a woman in a majority-female,
service-oriented profession. It can be hard to ...
female #altac
“I have to leave a little before 5 in order to get my
kid before her daycare closes. Even though I
come in ...
other thoughts on gender and #altac

@wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
female PhD with kids searching for #altac
“Currently, it seems that as a consequence of
reproductive labor still falling ...
male #altac, one child
“Before I took this role, my spouse and I were both
tenured professors at another university. Taki...
female, full-time faculty
“To a certain extent, alt-ac is beginning to look
more "family friendly" than a traditional aca...
female #altac
“it may be more common for women to look
ahead and anticipate that academic work with a
partner (whether he...
male #altac, ABD

“In the University setting, as a man, obviously,
gender has not been as big an issue as the
class/caste...
female searching for #altac
“Another reason that I am looking for alt-ac work is
that there are more possibilities for me...
male PhD looking for #altac work

“As a white male, I'm operating from a distinct
position of privilege. Even so, it's a ...
female graduate student with kids

“Shaming women for acknowledging our
responsibilities beyond academia has to stop, as
...
#altac job holders
 library administration, curriculum support, graduate school
administrator, subject librarian, researc...
Stay turned for a full report on the survey
at http://sarahwerner.net

@wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
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Alt-Ac Work and Gender

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a presentation from #mla14 of the results of a survey looking at connections between alternative-academic careers (#altac) and gender

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Alt-Ac Work and Gender

  1. 1. Alt-Ac Work and Gender: It’s not Plan B #mla14 #s757 @wynkenhimself, @m_steph_m, @amandafrench
  2. 2. http://bit.ly/altacgender 15% employed in #altac searching for #altac neither 13% 72% @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  3. 3. employed in or searching for #altac work (53 responses) children gender male 21% 2 or 3 15% female 79% @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757 1 21% 4 or more 2% 0 62%
  4. 4. not employed in nor searching for #altac work (8 responses) gender children male 13% 0 38% female 87% @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757 2 or 3 62%
  5. 5. “Did gender impact your decision to do or to seek #altac work?” yes 19% no 47% it's complicated 34% @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  6. 6. female #altac, ABD, no kids “One of my reasons for pursuing #altac work rather than the tenure track was wanting the flexibility to have a child on my schedule, rather than being subjected to the vagaries of the job market and tenure process. I now have generous maternity leave coverage and the flexibility to have a child at any time; if I were to wait until I was tenured, I'd be looking at getting pregnant 7-8 years from now, at close to 40.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  7. 7. male #altac, one child “My partner was pregnant (and completing her own graduate studies) when I was finishing my PhD. We made the decision that I needed to work in order to support our growing family — taking the time to secure a tenure-track faculty job just wasn't in the cards when I had the option of securing an #altac job and being able to focus on the (financial, emotional) well being of my family.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  8. 8. female #altac, 2 kids “My spouse didn't want to relocate when I was looking for TT work (he had a high-paying job and I didn't have any job offers) and then once we had kids, a commuter marriage wasn't a good option.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  9. 9. female searching for #altac “I have three young children and a husband who would prefer I fulfill more traditional female responsibilities in regards to household labor.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  10. 10. female #altac, Master’s degree, one kid “I wouldn't say that my gender limited the work I could do but because I was a single mom at the time, I had to take the most secure position that was offered to me, even if it wasn't my dream job in academia or something that would necessarily keep my hand in that work, because I had to look out for me and my kid.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  11. 11. female #altac “I think gender was a factor in my dissatisfaction with my previous job/employer. Lots of service demands were placed on women faculty, who were then less rewarded for being less "productive." I wanted a role in which the things that had been dismissed as service could instead be recognized as leadership.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  12. 12. female #altac (STEM) “Part of my work is in gender and racial equity in academia and I felt that I could have more of an immediate impact in an altac job, rather than to slog away until I get tenure when I would then have the freedom and power to advocate for those issues. … @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  13. 13. female #altac (STEM) cont’d. “… Another consideration was that as a woman of color (intersectionality alert!) given the demographics of my field I figured that if I stayed in academia I would be the first one in whatever department I joined, and that just sounded exhausting on top of all of the other pressures of being a junior faculty member.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  14. 14. female #altac “In high school and as an undergraduate, I envisioned a career that would now be called altac, but was persuaded by school counselors, academic advisors, and peers, that this would somehow be settling for second best, and as a woman, I'd be letting down the side if I didn't follow the traditional PhD-to-Professor route. … @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  15. 15. female #altac “… Luckily for me, I broke free of this pressure towards the end of writing my dissertation. My PhD defense ended up being the same week I was offered the alt-ac job I'd wanted since high school.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  16. 16. “Are there gender-related issues that impact your ability to do your work?” no 39% yes 34% it's complicated 27% @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  17. 17. male #altac “My profession is considered women's work. Consequently it is paid far lower than other work in City Government at similar educational levels.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  18. 18. female #altac with PhD “My research and alt-ac work is treated as subsidiary to my male colleagues (e.g. my projects are "community" projects whereas theirs are "serious" research). The women in our offices are asked to do the structural labor to make projects and partnerships run but are expected to cede the floor to male colleagues in presentations and publications.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  19. 19. female #altac “It's sometimes hard to know for sure, but I feel like I get judged differently for having strong opinions and a strong personality than male colleagues are.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  20. 20. female #altac with PhD “As a librarian, I'm a woman in a majority-female, service-oriented profession. It can be hard to get regular faculty to take librarians seriously as collaborators and colleagues (although, thankfully, this isn't the case in my current position).” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  21. 21. female #altac “I have to leave a little before 5 in order to get my kid before her daycare closes. Even though I come in early and don't take a lunch break, because I leave before my boss does I feel like this accumulates ill-will towards me, or creates the impression that I'm not working hard even though I work my full 8 hours, and then usually do a little more once I get home.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  22. 22. other thoughts on gender and #altac @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  23. 23. female PhD with kids searching for #altac “Currently, it seems that as a consequence of reproductive labor still falling upon women, particularly the physical components of pregnancy, childbirth, etc., that women often face challenges in regards to completing their PhD in a reasonable time and then finding work that permits flexibility.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  24. 24. male #altac, one child “Before I took this role, my spouse and I were both tenured professors at another university. Taking the #altac job has actually exacerbated some gender-related problems, since my time is now much more conventionally structured than it once was, and so it can *seem* easier to push domestic stuff onto her, which isn't good.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  25. 25. female, full-time faculty “To a certain extent, alt-ac is beginning to look more "family friendly" than a traditional academic position, which is problematic in terms of the make-up of the professoriate and who/where women work within the system. And, can alt-ac ever ascend into leadership positions that can help reshape the academy?” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  26. 26. female #altac “it may be more common for women to look ahead and anticipate that academic work with a partner (whether he or she is in academia or not) can create significant personal and professional strain; they may also more commonly be in the position of being a "trailing spouse" in one way or another. For both of these reasons, they (we) may therefore "opt out" more readily than men.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  27. 27. male #altac, ABD “In the University setting, as a man, obviously, gender has not been as big an issue as the class/caste divide of being an ABD. I'm a second class citizen and was always treated like one, by male and female faculty alike.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  28. 28. female searching for #altac “Another reason that I am looking for alt-ac work is that there are more possibilities for me than in my field. There were 2 TT positions in my field last year and both were over 1500 km from where I live. My husband has a non-academic job at which he earns the same or more than what these positions would pay. It just wouldn't make sense for me to take either position and move my family for a chance to earn tenure. No thank you.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  29. 29. male PhD looking for #altac work “As a white male, I'm operating from a distinct position of privilege. Even so, it's a rough market out there. I have been the primary care provider for my children most of their lives (they're currently four and nearly seven). I'm currently working parttime as a substitute teacher while continuing to juggle kids and my job search.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  30. 30. female graduate student with kids “Shaming women for acknowledging our responsibilities beyond academia has to stop, as does the assumption that family responsibilities are only the realm of women.” @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  31. 31. #altac job holders  library administration, curriculum support, graduate school administrator, subject librarian, research center administration, deputy secretary of the Faculty, DH center research faculty, DH project manager, distance-learning support, DH curator, director of a center for teaching and learning, online course design, grants administration, graduate student professional development, digital strategy at cultural heritage institution, emerging technologies librarian, digital asset management, editor for an online publication/social networking platform at a scholarly society, software project manager, executive director of a non-profit, IT administrator, web design @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757
  32. 32. Stay turned for a full report on the survey at http://sarahwerner.net @wynkenhimself #mla14 #s757

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