View the Final report of the Northwestern Task Force for Graduate Students with Children. This document largely echoes the concerns and solutions presented in our group’s report, Student Parents in the Shadows: Building an inclusive community for graduate student families at Northwestern. For additional information about Northwestern, please consult the masters thesis by Ann Merrell entitled, Graduate students with children: Challenges, support and academic success.

dobabiesmatterWe highly recommend the book Do Babies Matter: Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower. Written by researchers at the University of California and the University of Utah, it shows how family formation and university policies affect the academic careers of both women and men. The books shows that the lack of family friendly policies in graduate school  are a major factor why women decide to leave research track careers, especially in STEM fields. The book highlights the work being done in the UC system as a  model of family-friendly policies in academia.

We also highly recommend the Tools for Change website, which includes:

  • thumb-pipeline_sciVideos about how the lack of family friendly policies in graduate school drains women from the academic pipeline
  • Articles about how failing to support students with children is a violation of Title IX.
  • Cost simulators that show how much universities and the federal government lose when women drop out of the sciences.


See the Pregnant and Parenting Students‘ Rights page put together by the National Women’s Law Center.

Affordable Care Act:

According to the US Department of Labor, since 2010 “Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”


An excellent book on creating lactation support programs (including lactation rooms) at universities: Breastfeeding best practices in higher education. Model programs include Johns Hopkins University and Michigan State.


Penn State published a report in 2014 about the importance of providing family leave for graduate students–including mothers, fathers, same sex partners and adoptive parents.

Eastern Michigan University recently conducted a survey of student parents and wrote an excellent report that explains the child care issue in depth.


Here are links to current programs in the Northwestern community. (See our issues page for why we feel these resources are insufficient.)

Check out how NU compares to our peer institutions. We feel Northwestern should be a leader, not a follower, on these issues.


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