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Gender, Work Time, and Care Responsibilities Among Faculty


  • We gratefully acknowledge the helpful comments of Brian Baldi, Elissa Holmes, Miliann Kang, Kathryn McDermott, Randy Phillis, Mary Deane Sorcinelli, and Rebecca Spencer, as well as three anonymous reviewers and the editor, Karen Cerulo. We also appreciate the invaluable assistance of Lori Reardon and Karen Mason on this project, which was funded by the UMass Office of Faculty Development’s Mellon Mutual Mentoring fund, the UMass Provost’s Office, and the Massachusetts Society of Professors.


This study explores how faculty at one research-intensive university spend their time on research, teaching, mentoring, and service, as well as housework, childcare, care for elders, and other long-term care. Drawing on surveys and focus group interviews with faculty, the article examines how gender is related to time spent on the different components of faculty work, as well as on housework and care. Findings show that many faculty report working more than 60 hours a week, with substantial time on weekends devoted to work. Finding balance between different kinds of work (research, teaching, mentoring, and service) is as difficult as finding balance between work and personal life. The study further explores how gendered care giving, in particular being a mother to young children, is related to time spent on faculty work, controlling for partner employment and other factors. Men and women devote significantly different amounts of time to housework and care giving. While men and women faculty devote the same overall time to their employment each week, mothers of young children spend less time on research, the activity that counts most toward career advancement.