Professional Women’s Dilemma between Work and Family: An Examination of the ADVANCE Program

Yun Ling Li, Anthony A. Peguero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This study explores the underrepresentation of female professionals, especially in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and the efforts of one program, the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program, to ameliorate this situation. We chose female faculty members in universities as a research topic for several reasons. First, as a career, being an academic professional is seen as a “good” job not only because of its high earnings but also because of the prestige attached to it. Second, like other prominent occupations, working in a university is a time-consuming job. Moreover, junior faculty members need to devote significant time to build up their career and reputation. Third, unlike many other professions, being a member of an academic faculty affords flexibility in arranging one’s time and schedule. However, this flexibility does not guarantee that female faculty members face fewer work–family conflicts, nor does it necessarily improve their chances of gaining upward mobility. In order to deal with the prevalent situation of female professionals’ underrepresentation, the National Science Foundation is promoting the “ADVANCE program” to improve the status of women in academe. In this article, we use Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) as case studies to examine the results and implications of the program’s implementation. Our findings suggest that although female faculty members in both schools benefit from the “ADVANCE Program,” these policies and practices are still not sufficient to fundamentally change women’s underrepresentation in STEM fields because the issues are rooted in the characteristics of these disciplines and institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-144
Number of pages26
JournalGender, Technology and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 11 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • ADVANCE program
  • National Science Foundation
  • STEM
  • Women in academia
  • underrepresentation of female faculty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Development


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