A Day in the Life: An Examination of Women’s Choices in the Academy

  • Amy Burns
  • Barbara Brown
  • Sarah Elaine Eaton
  • Katherine Mueller


The choices facing academic women are rooted in expectations around gender roles and career aspirations, and the need to balance their private and professional lives. Through a thematic examination of personal narrative texts, the authors explored the challenges of pre-tenure female academics negotiating complex choices with goals to learn from these challenges and use them to help provide a model of community for other scholars exploring similar issues. Situated within a liberal feminist framework informed by the notion of collective care, action research was used to guide the creation of reflective narrative journals, and the data were examined using a protocol that involved team meetings and collaborative analysis. Five common themes emerged from the data: (a) job satisfaction, (b) time negotiation, (c) attention to others, (d) self-care, and (e) relationship building. Key outcomes point to the need for women to have choices and access to supportive and collaborative learning environments that promote wellness.