G S T logo

The Impacts of Marriage on Perceived Academic Career Success: Differences by Gender and Discipline

Zarrina H. Juraqulova, Tori C. Byington, Julie A. Kmec


This study examines perceptions of how marriage impacts two aspects of academics’ career success in STEM and non-STEM fields: professional productivity and professional mobility. We pose three research questions. (1) How does marriage shape women’s and men’s perceptions of academic career success?


(2) How do perceptions of career gains differ for women and men in STEM and non-STEM fields? and (3) How does parenthood impact these perceptions?  We use unique data from a random sample of academics in thirteen U.S. institutions. Findings indicate that gender, individual, family and institutional characteristics, and professional productivity form faculty’s perceptions of professional success. Women in both STEM and non-STEM fields report higher perceptions of perceived gains in professional productivity and involvement due to marriage compared to their male counterparts. However, for academics in both disciplines, women perceive less professional mobility gains from their marriage than do men. Being a parent is associated with the view that marriage negatively affects success in academia.  Being married to an academic partner is associated with the perception that marriage positively impacts professional productivity, but negatively impacts mobility for those in both STEM and non-STEM disciplines. 


marriage; academics; perceptions; career; gains; loss; success; women; STEM; non-STEM

Full Text: