MOMA Award: Making Opportunities for Mothers in Academia

Retaining Mothers, Inspiring Change

We all know that being a full-time working parent is hard, but due to cultural norms and the gender wage gap, working mothers in particular often feel retaining a career in academia is next to impossible. Consider this:

The wage gap for women to men is 70 cents on the dollar, but this is deceiving. Child-free women earn 95 cents on the dollar and women with children earn just over 50 cents on the dollar. [1]

Although 70 percent of male professors who achieve tenure are married with children, only 44 percent of female professors who reach the same status are married with children. This is despite the fact that the majority of doctoral degrees have been awarded to women for 8 years running. [2]

Men who become fathers within five years of earning their PhD are 38% more likely to earn tenure than women who become mothers during the same five years.[3]

About the MOMA Award

We are all aware of the importance of hiring and retaining a diverse faculty. The above statistics highlight that mothers are often ignored in this quest. Corporate moms check Working Mother’s Top 100 Companies to Work For when job hunting. Universities should have a similar list, and this award is the beginning. Moreover, your university deserves bragging rights for the hard work it is doing to help support mothers. We want to hear about what you are doing today.

IAMAS (International Association of Maternal Action and Scholarship) wants to recognize colleges and universities that are brainstorming, initiating, and supporting campus programs that help retain faculty who are also parenting young children.  Some examples are: parental/maternal leave, offering a part-time tenure track process, on-site childcare, tolling, and breastfeeding support. This is not an exhaustive list and we would love to hear other successful ideas as well.

Importantly, IAMAS recognizes that having a policy that supports parents, and mothers more specifically, is often not enough. The critical factor is often cultivating a culture in which those that would benefit most from the designated policies feel that they will not be penalized for taking advantage of it. IAMAS wants to recognize academic institutions that are not only changing policy, but changing culture.

The following application permits you or a member of your team to flaunt the work that is happening on your campus. The questions are designed to not only find out more about the intention and success of your policies, but to also determine their ongoing efficacy.

While most programs of this ilk are (rightly) aimed at parents more generally, IAMAS will give preference to programming that, even if only partially, directly supports working mothers.

To apply, please complete the attached application and a provide the $120 processing fee. Applications are due on February 14, 2020. The top three winners will be invited to attend IAMAS’ annual conference in Chicago (May 1-3) with complimentary registration provided. At this conference a member of the winning team will share with attendees the process that led your team to your successful initiative as well as receive $500 in travel reimbursement. A list of the top 10 winners will be shown in our conference brochure (near advertisements for employment section) as well as on our website and social media outlets. 

If you have any questions, please email Dr. Katie B. Garner at We look forward to hearing about your great ideas.


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[1] Mason, Mary Ann and Marc Goulden. “Mommies and Daddies on the Fast Track: Success of Parents in Demanding Professions.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Vol. 596, Nov., 2004, pp. 86-103.

[1] Wood, Jill M. “Non Tenture-Trace Academic Work.” Academic Motherhood in a Post-Second Wave Context: Challenges Strategies and Possibilities. Eds. D. Lynn O’Brien Hallstein and Andrea O’Reilly. Demeter, 2012, pp. 231-252.