35, historian/PhD, engaged
What does “having it all” mean? Being able to make a living and find fulfillment doing whatever it is that I take pleasure in in my professional life. I think of the concept of "having it all" is such a problematic term and idea. Men don’t have to think about this problem. This “it" is not easily attainable unless you’re at a particular socioecomonic level.
What are the particular challenges for women in academia? In academia the climate is really unfavorable for women, especially for women who want to have children. You just have to pick. I have been advised, 'Do you want career or kids?' Like in any career, the most crucial time in your career is when you are having kids. For a lot of women, that’s when you should be having kids. If you have kids during the tenure track, you still only have three years on job. The system is staked for men to achieve it all—to have a family and a successful careers. I find myself wondering what this all means. Do I want to have a good career? Or do I want to be happy?
How do you think getting married will change things? I met my fiancé when I was 19 and we’ve been together ever since. We’ve been engaged for a really long time. I am kind of apprehensive about marriage. Part of me rejects that the state needs to recognize my personal life. Now as we are getting older, I am still a little resistant. I think that marriage makes sense from a tax perspective, for when we have kids, for health insurance—for really practical reasons. Deep down I am just a pragmatist.