My children… think it’s cool that Mum is a uni student: Women with caring responsibilities studying online
Cathy Stone and Sarah O’Shea
The University of Newcastle, the University of Wollongong and NCSEHE
Published in Australian Journal of Educational Technology Special Issue 2019
Much has been written about the growing influence and reach of online learning in higher education, including the opportunities that this can offer for improving student equity and widening participation. One area of student equity in which online learning has an influence is that of gender equity, particularly for mature-age students. This article explicitly explores how the dual identities of student and family carer are managed by women studying online. It highlights the largely invisible yet emotional and time-consuming additional load that many women are carrying and discusses the importance of this being recognised and accommodated at an institutional level. Online study has the potential to facilitate a more manageable and achievable study path for students with caring responsibilities, most of whom are women. Institutional understanding and awareness are required for this potential to be truly realised, thereby reducing educational inequity.