Když se dva světy potkávají: role partnera v životě ženy s akademickým povoláním
When Two Different Worlds Encouter: The Role of a Partner in the Life of a Women Occupying Academic Professions
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The article deals with a socially current topic of partnership satisfaction of women working in academic professions. The research project from 2013 focused on a deeper examination of subjective experiences of women working at Czech state universities and colleges. The presented part of the research provides an insight into women's perceptions of their partners' attitudes to their profession and their partners' roles regarding the harmony of their personal and professional life. The core of the research is qualitative methodology which allowed us to analyze obtained answers in more detail and obtain new and discovered research knowledge about partnership relations of a specific category of women. The main method for data collection was a semi-structured interview. Medical history questionnaires and observation were also used. The research sample of the population consisted of 32 women in young and middle adulthood who have dedicated themselves to academic careers at state universities (n=28) and at research institutes (n=4) in the Czech Republic for at least three (3) years (at the positions of assistant and associate professor) and who have been in a permanent partner relationship for at least three years. Teaching, research and publishing is also a part of their active profession. Most research female participants (n=28) assess their partners' attitude toward their profession as a positive one; they mentioned such things as respect, mutual understanding and friendship. In all cases (n=32), partners help to deal with their professional and personal life requirements on several levels. The partner's role has a psychologically supportive meaning for the participants, since the partner provides psychological support, an opportunity to share and a sense of safety and security. He also boosts her confidence and self-esteem in her professional life. For thirty (30) women, their partner is a natural support. The mentally instrumental role of their partner can be interpreted as a sense of security whereby their partners help at home, with the children, or in professional matters. Partners help to manage the dual roles of women through material and instrumental assistance. They provide financial support for the family, participate in the running of the household and in taking care of children, although women still play the main role in households. To a certain extent, partners can affect women's working activities in terms of boosting or reducting them. Thus they also play a regulating role in women's lives. Partners' social roles lie mainly in support, relaxation and maintaining mental health. A partner provides for a woman and warns a woman when she is overworked and does not rest enough, and he also encourages her to do free time activities and relax. According to 22 participants, the essential condition to a functional relationship, and at the same time to effectively manage a dual role, is to attempt to consider and combine their time limitations, to discuss them and meet each other half way. The partner of a woman in academia is a mature, independent and understanding person. Four women feel misunderstood by their partner in terms of their professional role, and one participant stated her partner refuses to accept her success. Partners' negative attitudes contribute to internal and external conflicts between job and family, and to excessive escaping to work or to frustration from the need of self-realization. The lack of psychological studies prevents comparisons among different type of research, and since other studies have different focuses methods and research sample characteristics. Previous research focused mainly on partners' participation in family duties, households, and in raising children (Dancer, Gilbert, 1993; Hall, MacDermid, 2009; Hoschschild, Machung, 2012). Our findings show that the partners' role is much wider. A functional partnership makes it easier for women not only to synchronize professional, family and personal life, but also to manage the professional requirements as such. In addition to frequently discussed instrumental help, participation in the upbringing of children and financial security, the psychological and supportive role of a partner were mentioned as subjectively important. Partners play an important role in regulating the working hours and mental health of female participants, and thus contribute to their overall life satisfaction.
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