Academic mothers in China and the UK
This thesis is a comparative study of academic mothers in China and the UK. It takes as its point of departure the proposition that academic mothers can be successful in combining academic work and motherhood. Drawing on the sociological approach of separate spheres, it addresses issues concerning how motherhood is constructed by academic mothers in the two different countries and how academic mothers make commitments to both academic work and family responsibilities in different contexts. By comparing academic mothers' experiences of juggling work and family between different cohorts and different countries, the thesis examines the interrelated issues that academic mothers confront, such as competition and pressure in academic work, advantage of the flexibility of academic work, childcare facilities and social support in the two countries, the priorities between work and children, what is good mothering, etc. Academic mothers' own perceptions of their double roles as an academic as well as a mother suggest that these two worlds are closely related to each other in spite of dilemma and conflicts they have in combining the two. By manifesting academic mothers' achievements in and contributions to both the public and private spheres, the thesis concludes that mothers can be successful in an academic career.