Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Dr. Christopher Greig


Academia, Feminist Theories, Gender, Gender Relations, Higher Education, Motherhood




A qualitative narrative approach was utilized to explore the experiences of 11 women who balanced or were currently balancing motherhood and academia. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to explore the experiences of graduate student mothers who were currently enrolled in a graduate program, mothers who recently completed a graduate program within a five-year time frame, and faculty members who were mothers at the time of their graduate student careers. More specifically, this study explored the experiences five graduate student mothers; two recent graduates of a graduate program; and four faculty or adjunct employees, from a local university in Southwestern Ontario. Inductive analysis of the semi-structured interviews and focus groups revealed five key themes concerning motherhood and graduate studies: (a) intersection of work and family; (b) mentoring and networking opportunities; (c) inconsistency between institutional and program policy; (d) support from departmental faculty but lack of support from the university as a whole; and (e) an overall level of satisfaction in being a mother during graduate studies. Implications of these key findings are discussed within the paper and provide evidence on policy, campus resources, mentoring opportunities, and graduate student well-being, while also addressing issues of gender equity.