Can I Do All This and Then Have a Kid? Family Formation Intentions among Graduate Students

Chelsea Smith, University of Texas at Austin
Bridget K. Gorman, Rice University
Kristen Schilt, University of Chicago

Fertility timing and work-family balance are pressing issues for many young adults. In academia, they reflect large-scale gender inequities, especially for women in STEM fields. Our longitudinal, mixed-methods study of gender and graduate school experience evaluates: level of thought about work-family balance, and whether ideal time to have a(nother) child would be different if not for graduate school. We find work-family balance is especially important for STEM women, married students, and students with children. Spillover (both positive and negative) from family to work life is also positively related to work-family balance. Finally, female mentorship is related to significantly more thought to work-family balance. Our findings thus far have worrisome implications: graduate students express great concern over what they view as an inherent work-family conflict in academia. Analysis of our other dependent variable, ideal timing for a(nother) child, will likely further this perception, since we expect graduate students are delaying their fertility.

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Presented in Poster Session 4