CFP: Supporting and Empowering Mothers in the Academe (Conference)

Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI)
Supporting and Empowering Mothers in the Academe: 
Strategies for Institutional Change and Individual Agency
June 24-27, 2013, Toronto, Canada 

The conference, "Supporting and Empowering Mothers in the Academe: Strategies for Institutional Change and Individual Agency," will examine the subject of mothers in the academe from scholarly and activist perspectives by drawing on academic papers and interactive workshops. It will join scholars that specialize in academic motherhood research with individuals and agencies that support mothers in the academe.

According to recent studies of both academic women and mothers, gender discrimination in general, and that targeting academic mothers, is pervasive in academia. According to a recent Statistics Canada Report women comprise only 35.6 percent of all tenure track/tenured university faculty in Ontario. In 2009 at Canadian universities, only 30.9 percent of tenured positions were held by women, but 53.4 percent of non-tenured lecturers were women. The Canadian Association of University Teachers Almanac of Post-Secondary Education 2011/2012 reveals that only 21.8 percent of Full Professors in Canada are women and only 16.3 percent of Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs are held by women.

The conference will examine obstacles to and strategies for maternal empowerment in the academe within the context of institutional change and individual agency. The roles that race, class, sexuality, age, ability, religion and ethnicity play in reinforcing/constructing obstacles to the advancement of maternal empowerment and agency in academe, and the structural changes needed to remove them, will be explored. The conference will draw attention to the experiences of graduate student mothers; many of the papers and workshops will be presented by graduate students, and others are concerned with mentoring graduate students.

The main aim of the conference is to deliver models, strategies, and practices of maternal empowerment that are relevant and practical; the activists, service providers, and policy makers who advocate for mothers in academe must be able to utilize them. As reputable public institutions, universities must put family-friendly policies and attitudes into practice that uphold gender equality; this will allow women to balance their academic career paths with the stages of motherhood. Universities stand to tarnish their reputations and lose some of their most talented scholars if they do not.

The conference will generate valuable information on what is needed to support mothers throughout their academic careers, and uphold women's contribution to university culture.  

We invite submissions for papers as well as workshops from faculty, students, service providers, activists as well as members of faculty unions and associations.

If you are interested in being considered as a presenter for either a paper
and/or workshop, please send a 250 word abstract, a 50-word bio by March 1, 2013 to


Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI)
140 Holland St. West, PO Box 13022, Bradford, ON, L3Z 2Y5

Disclosure: I am getting a complementary membership to MIRCI and subscription to the journal in return for posting these updates. It is, however, something I would have agreed to do for free because I think their work is so wonderful.