The paper focuses on the changes that have occurred in women’s academic research careers and compares two generations: women who built their career under state socialism (before 1989) and the contemporary young generation of women. It aims to contribute to the discussion of how the current transformation of science and the academic work environment has impacted gender equality and women’s careers in academia. A life-course approach is used to analyse the interplay between individual, institutional, and structural barriers in women’s careers. Drawing on in-depth narrative interviews, the analysis focuses on the interaction between academic research work paths, institutional and organisational conditions, and family paths and examines the milestones that formed the career paths of women now and in the past, how the dynamics of an academic research career have changed, and how the ways and conditions for combining work life and motherhood have changed. The author argues that the neoliberal transformation of the academic labour market and current Czech family policy leave women increasingly less able to fit their life biography into their preferred career model than they could before 1989.