A Comparison of Family Care Responsibilities of First-generation and Non-first-generation Female Administrators in the Academy

Seay, Sandra E.
Publication Year:
Educational Management Administration & Leadership

Greater numbers of women are entering and working in higher education. Some of these women are the first in their families to attain academic degrees. They are known as first-generation students, and the care of children and others is often responsible for their withdrawal from academic study. This study addressed the void of information concerning the post-baccalaureate work experiences of first-generation women by documenting their presence in higher education administrative positions and by determining that providing care for a greater number of dependent children than their peers remained in the profile of first-generation women who had transitioned from undergraduate students to academic administrators. An online questionnaire was used to examine the responses of 345 women working in North Carolina community colleges, colleges and universities. Of the respondents, 38.8 percent were first-generation; 17.4 percent of the first-generation respondents provided financial support to a parent or other. The data results and a literature review are used to suggest that family-friendly workplace policies including equitable pay for women and health insurance options that allow coverage for elderly parents could assist firstgeneration women who aspire to academic positions within higher education.

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