The Juggling Act: Mothers as Academics
Women faculty in Ghana experience discrimination along race, class and gender lines due to the entanglement of patriarchy and the effects of colonialism. In talking about the woman as an academic it is important to consider the effects of career on her mothering, the effects of motherhood on her career, or the effects of combining these two roles. This study sought to examine a) the experiences of women in higher education in Ghana by considering the challenges and opportunities they face as faculty as well as performing their primary roles as mothers and b) the attributes and strategies common among mothers who have succeeded in higher education teaching. Postcolonial feminist theory which explains that women were double colonialized by imperial and patriarchal ideologies offers a sensible place to understand the experiences of women faculty in Ghana's higher education. Fourteen faculty members representing three public universities in Ghana were selected for this study. Interviews were adopted to highlight the importance of women's individual voices on issues that affect them. Research findings from in-depth interviews and document analysis showed that women faculty were highly underrepresented. The majority of respondents cited conflicts in managing their multiple roles as mothers, wives and workers, interrupted careers and impact of family dynamics as key issues. The results also showed a mixed perception of the prioritization of gender issues within the structures of the institutions. The patriarchal culture of the universities serves to undermine women's authority and frames their identity in subordinated paradigms. The participants of the study exhibited attributes such as perseverance, ability to plan, and the determination to succeed as pivotal characteristics that aided them in their struggle to advance.
Keywords: Mothers as Academics, Higher Education, Gender Issues
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Educational Studies, Ohio University
Dr. Francis Ebenezer Godwyll
Assistant Professor, Educational Studies Department