The Juggling Act: Mothers as Academics

By Augustina Adusah-Karikari and Francis Ebenezer Godwyll.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp.19-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 632.041KB).

Augustina Adusah-Karikari

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Educational Studies, Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA

She graduates with a PhD in Educational Studies from Ohio University, Athens, in June 2008. She holds a Master of Arts International Studies and a Master of Public Administration from the same university. Her doctoral research focused on the experiences of women as Faculty and Administrators in Higher Education.She has a co-authored a chapter titled, “Globalization and its Impact on Women in Developing Countries” in a book (in press) on Poverty, Education and Development. Her research interests include: women and higher education, gender issues, strategies for promoting women and development; prioritizing girls’ education; diversity and gender; empowerment of marginalized populations in comparative settings; the use of education as a medium for promotion of democracy; women, work and migration; and women and globalization, among others. Augustina currently serves as a Residential Coordinator with the Department of Residence Life and Off Campus Living at Ohio Univeristy.

Dr. Francis Ebenezer Godwyll

Assistant Professor, Educational Studies Department, College of Education, Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA

He is currently an Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies in Education at Ohio University in Athens. He was a Lecturer in Education at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. He was an adjunct faculty at the University of Education at Winneba in Ghana and the National-Louis University at the Heidelberg International Campus. He served as an instructor at the Institute of Behavior Modification in Heidelberg, Germany a subsidiary of the Institute of Special Education at the University of Education at Heidelberg. He has consulted for the Ministry of Education Ghana, Ghana National Association of Teachers, SOS Village projects,Ghana. He is an author and co-author of books, book chapters, articles and presented at national and international conferences.


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