How do superwomen find time?

1,875

My wife and I are trying to make a dual academic career happen. To make this work, several conditions must be met:

  • Both partners must be fully committed to putting the needs of the couple ahead of the needs of the individual. For example, if I were to spend more of my weekends and evenings writing my grant proposals, this would boost my individual CV. But it would also mean that more household tasks will fall to my wife, which would hurt her career. So, even though this may hurt my individual career, I will not follow this path, because it is better for the two of us.
  • Both partners must be accommodating to one another's periods of peak stress. We divide household tasks equally between the two of us, but the load is not always 50/50 throughout the year. When one of us has a big grant proposal deadline or peak educational load, the other does more. Over the year, this evens out.
  • It helps if your institution (or even your country) has formal regulations stimulating a healthy work-life balance. For instance, my university offers on-campus child care. Scandinavian countries offer significant maternal, paternal, and parental leave schemes. The tricky thing is that academics often seem hesitant to make use of such schemes, out of a fear to hurt their career. It helps if you have a strong mental stance that the happiness of your family trumps the importance of an individual career; this is definitely how I prioritize my life.
  • It also helps if you have a strong family/friends support network. If the grandparents happen to be willing to provide child care for one day per week, that makes a huge difference.

Through carefully balancing our individual needs and couple goals, I think that my wife and I will be able to achieve a healthy family life and on top of that a successful dual career. Notice that this order in writing is very deliberate: I choose to prioritize family over work. I think that this is the healthy way to do things, although other people will make other choices and that is fine.


Alternatively, I know of very successful female professors who are in relationships with inverted gender roles: these couples chose to let the husband take the role of managing the household, while the wife worked tirelessly on her academic career. This model can easily work, if the norms of the society you happen to be in will allow it; it'll work better in some countries than in others.

Share:
1,875

Related videos on Youtube

hanugm
Author by

hanugm

Updated on January 31, 2023

Comments

  • hanugm
    hanugm 9 months

    There are a lot of activities and responsibilities for women in both professional and personal life. I can list few of them.

    Academic related: Lecturing, content creation, discussion, floating assignments, studying, research, dealing with interns, meeting seniors (attending seminars), administrative tasks, and miscellaneous tasks

    Personal: Parenting, cooking, home maintenance, elderly care, periodic cycles etc.,

    Although the list seems small, it takes up a lot of energy, time, mood and (some times) aspiration.

    Although all of the academic activities are common to men also. I hope it is well known for most of us that personal activities for women are relatively high.

    I want to add one more factor that may be relevant: finance control. Women who are in academics may not able to get enough money to automate the personal tasks.

    In this context, I am wondering how do superwomen find time to deal with academic activities?

    More context: I am updating after this answer in meta.

    How is it related to academics: Some research scholars does not get income from PhD. Some get less amount (25,000 - 35,000 rupees) and very very few gets more stipend (Rs. 55,000.00 to Rs 72,800). Many of the remaining professions get much more than this along with several benefits. It is higly infeasible for a researcher to hire maid or for automation. You can read these source 1, source 2

    How is it related to gender: You need to do a survey on this. There are more responsibilities for woman in my country compared to men. You can read these: source 1, source 2

    It's not clear what sort of answers are possible: Answer can be from the experience of people who work under responsibilities or those who know about the standard practices of such females.

    • user111388
      user111388 about 3 years
      From experience and studies I have seen, university women have on avarage less kids than the avarage. At a certain point, it is "kids or career" for women (in general, of course there are exceptions) while men can have kids even if they are older and have a fixed position..
    • xLeitix
      xLeitix about 3 years
      I'm not sure what kind of answer you are expecting here. Do you really think there is an objective answer or a lifehack that does not include "by overworking themselves" or "by not actually doing all these things simultaneously"?
    • user111388
      user111388 about 3 years
      You might also want for non-Indian readers to write into the question what Indian women are expected to do. Are they nowadays, de facto, expected to do more child care/parent care/household than men?
    • hanugm
      hanugm about 3 years
      @xLeitix I am expecting answers from working women in academics about their time management. Because I don't have any clue of dealing with these.
    • hanugm
      hanugm about 3 years
      @user111388 Yeah, they do exist in reality, for a married women. I am not exaggerating anything here.
    • hanugm
      hanugm about 3 years
      If someone can improve the question, please do it.
    • Maarten Buis
      Maarten Buis about 3 years
      The successful younger women I know "just" successfully communicated with their partner, that they need to participate in running the household. I put just in quotes, because that is not easy. It is also more of a ongoing process/struggle, rather than a one-time talk. The older successful women, just choose not to have children.
    • This site has become a dump.
      This site has become a dump. about 3 years
      It is completely unclear to me why this question is focused on women; every point listed (except the period) holds just the same for men in many cultures. I have to admit I'm not very familiar with Indian culture, but I think this question would be greatly improved without the restriction on sex/gender.
    • This site has become a dump.
      This site has become a dump. about 3 years
      On a separate note, it also seems to have little to do with academia; the exact same question (with the exact same anwer) goes for any career.
    • hanugm
      hanugm about 3 years
      @Servaes how can it go for any career? Software employees get at least 2 times the salary compared to academicians. They can hire maids for many tasks.
    • hanugm
      hanugm about 3 years
      @Servaes I request you to please make a short survey on Indian culture. You can search responsibilities/duties of Indian women/(housewife)homemaker .
    • Wrzlprmft
      Wrzlprmft about 3 years
      Just one comment on the cultural aspect: A culture that expects women to exclusively take care of parenting, cooking, home maintenance, and elderly care does not expect women to make career. So, it is a bit weird to frame all of this in such cultural expectations, and assume them as strict. You might also find it interesting to read this.
    • henning
      henning about 3 years
      @xLeitx with some elaboration, that could be a good answer.
    • henning
      henning about 3 years
      @Servaes only in part, namely high-commitment, high-workload careers.
    • wimi
      wimi about 3 years
      By not being with a man that expects them to do all those tasks while he does nothing.
  • hanugm
    hanugm about 3 years
    Nice answer. You understood the issue.
  • i_love_chocolate
    i_love_chocolate about 3 years
    Just adding, an academic couple I knew would trade, like if he got five days of conferences a year, so did she. So everything was a negotiation. Where I worked academic couples tended to be very efficient because they had to be very focused and intentional about where they put their time.